A statement issued by the Langlands School and College Chitral, signed by its academic and other staff members, in response to an article published in ChitralToday on March 29, 2017, and the subsequent comments by our readers, is published here verbatim.–Editor (Zar Alam Khan):
“We, the teachers of The Langlands School and College would like to register our strong protest at the attacks being launched on our institution in the electronic media. We know the author of the attack and we know the parties who have jumped on his bandwagon. Their interest, and their motivation, in undermining this institution is clear. Our concern is that The Langlands School and College should not be subjected to such public assaults which affect the dignity of our school. Our pupils deserve better than to see their school undermined in this way.
“The Langlands School and College is heavily oversubscribed and we are unable to accommodate many applicants, even those who pass the admission test. This is the best proof of the confidence that local people have in our school. Since Miss Carey Schofield took over as principal a great many changes have been introduced which have reformed the performance and the character of our school. Here are some examples (out of many): The Senior Schools now work until 2:30pm(earlier it was 1:30pm) and lessons have been lengthened from 30 to 40 minutes. Furthermore, the working week is now five and half days, not five.
“A second break has been introduced to allow pupils and staff to say Zuhr prayers. Lesson plans and schemes of work are prepared by all teachers and checked by the Director of Studies. Monthly tests are held and reports sent home, homework is set according to a planned homework timetable and properly marked. In the Senior Schools a tutorial system is in place to ensure proper pastoral care and supervision of each pupil, and close links with the family. Co-curricular activities such as carpentry and stonecutting have been introduced, along with sports sessions after school. In the Junior School lessons on the history and culture of Chitral are held in the Khowar language by a most local scholar.
“The Principal has repeatedly stated that the teachers are the basis of the school and its most important asset. As a result, the selection of teachers, staff discipline and professional development are treated as priorities. Experts from outside Chitral are regularly consulted to advise on teaching and to build up the school’s competence. The Langlands Schooland College appears to be the only institution in Chitral that is addressing the question of helping children with dyslexia and other common learning difficulties. Our school is developing expertise in this area with the help of internationally-accredited professionals. Teachers’ salaries have indeed been raised to a level comparable to, or even exceeding, those in the government sector. At the same time we teachers work longer-than-average hours, very frequently staying after school hours to supervise co-curricular events and to prepare academic sessions.
“These measures are undertaken for the benefit of our pupils. Service to the community is stressed through organised social work undertaken by our students. The school does not publicise this work and students are asked not to put posts about it on social media. We want to record these facts about our school in the face of crticism from a few interested parties. As far as the management of The Langlands School and College is concerned, it is registered under the Registration of Societies Act XXI of 1860 as a private school. As is well-known in Chitral, it is run on a not-for-profit basis. It is managed by a Board of Governors that includes Javed Majid, the founder of the school. It is not the business of anyone outside our school to assault the principal or the management of the school. We are aware, as are many others in Chitral that the principal refused to raise tuition fees at the beginning of 2016 out of concern for the many families who had lost their homes, or suffered loss, during the floods and earthquake of 2015.
“Miss Schofield has raised funds from generous private donors to cover, for example, the cost of installing heating in the school buildings and carpeting the new First School building. For the record, during the process of upgrading the school uniform the principal’s constant concern was to ensure that the new uniform should not be too expensive for the majority of parents. In order to ease the burden on parents the charge is being spread over three months. The Principal repeatedly stresses that the only elite in the school is one of achievement and nobility of character. Great efforts have been made to bring poor children into the school, to provide full scholarships (covering books as well as uniform) and to ensure that they are then given every facility.
“We request all concerned authorities to take action to ensure that the vicious activities of a small group do not overshadow the achievements of our school, disrupt its tranquil and studious environment or endanger our security through bringing unwanted attention.”