LAHORE: A Christian cleric on Monday heaped scorn on the provincial government for freezing its denationalisation programme out of fear of a teachers' backlash. The denationalisation programme, introduced under a landmark ruling of the superior judiciary, came unstuck late last month when teachers launched a successful protest campaign against it.
"Just at the hint of agitation, the government folded its denationalisation plans," the Bishop of Lahore Alexander John Malik said bitterly. "The move would have been beneficial to all parties concerned." Under the programme, the government of Punjab was to hand over missionary schools and other privately-owned educational institutions to their rightful owners, starting from June 2001. Almost all these institutions have been under government control since 1972. Bishop Alexander said the Church of Pakistan, an ecumenical union of all Anglican, Methodist, Scottish Presbyterian and Lutheran churches, would contest the decision in court. "We will institute legal proceedings against the provincial government if it does not unfreeze the denationalisation programme," the bishop told participants at a seminar on the privatisation of education. A large group of teachers in the central Punjab province oppose denationalisation on the grounds that it would allow large-scale transfers of educators and jeopardise their benefit claims. They threatened to mount a series of strikes if the government went ahead with the plan. In the end the provincial government backed down and shelved the scheme of returning privately-owned schools and colleges. It is not clear whether the government U-turn would affect the formal handover of Lahore's Forman Christian College to its old owners. The famed college is to be returned in October 2002 on the orders of President Pervez Musharraf, who studied at the college. Bishop Alexander has vowed to resist the government on the issue of stalled denationalisation. "The teachers are holding the government to ransom...and we will not permit that," he said. About the fears expressed by teachers, the bishop said the missonary schools had no intention of reneging on its pledges to pay teachers salaries and charge anything but the fixed tuition fee from students. "At a time when the government is carrying out the privatisation of industrial units and hospitals, it is ridiculous to block denationalisation of educational institutions," he said. The owners of the missionary institutions complain that the government did not pay them a single rupee when they confiscated their schools and colleges some thirty years ago. "Yet they expect us to become liable for expenses and salaries that they ought to be paying in the first place," observed a Catholic schoolteacher. " It won't be totally inaccurate to say that the denationalisation scheme was floated because the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab no longer had the money to pay the salaries of teachers," he said. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Finance - Get real-time stock quotes http://finance.yahoo.com =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-W-E-B---S-I-T-E-=-=-= To Subscribe/Unsubscribe from GoaNet | http://www.goacom.com/goanet =================================================================== For (un)subscribing or for help, Contact: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Dont want so many e=mails? Join GoaNet-Digest instead ! =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Help support non-commercial projects in Goa by advertizing!! * * * * Your ad here !!