Langlands School & College Chitral – virtually run into the ground by British woman, BoG
By Zulfiqar Ahmad
Islamabad (TP) September 27: The Langlands School and College Chitral tells a story of an academic institution that once saw spectacular heights only to face a dizzying fall, which appears to have been virtually run into the ground by the board of governors and its journalist-turned-educationist British woman Carey Schofield – the all-powerful principal.
Founded in 1988 as the first private institution in Chitral, today it faces weak standards and chronic financial issues with the board of governors showing an unprecedented generosity to open up coffers to the British woman principal from school’s funds under the head of different expenditures that are so bewildering and mind-boggling that one could not resist suspecting.
In an unparalleled show of generosity, the governing body of the state-funded charity, which is run on government funding and private donations, has approved over Rs10 million to Schofield under the head of “overdue salary” and “accommodation expenses” — for the services she did not deliver and for a stay/accommodation she never availed for almost over a year or so.
The expenses incurred under the head of an overdue salary and supposed accommodation are so sky-scraping (Rs4.875 million) that makes one completely baffled when one compares the cheapest and backward valley of Chitral (in terms of accommodation) with what the amount had been drawn or sanctioned for the principal. Accommodations in most expensive cities of the world are not as costly as the Chitral town has been shown while approving the amount for the British principal as residence expenditures.
According to documents available with this correspondent, on March 3, 2017, some three members of the governing body approved a huge sum of Rs10.550 million for the English principal, some two years after she returned to Pakistan, what is purported to be under the head of an overdue salary and accommodation expenses.
After taking charge of the academy from 97-year-old British principal Major Geoffrey D Langlands on March 5, 2013, Schofield reportedly told the governing body about the sorry state of financial affairs of the institution, claiming to fix it and boost education standards.
Schofield, the author of several books on military matters including Inside the Pakistan Army, was blacklisted in May 2015 by former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on a request of his late teacher GD Langlands as he had approached his former student after Schofield “illegally” terminated the services of eight teachers including its vice principal and a co-founder Abdullah.
The woman principal and her supporters moved from pillar to post to restore her visa, who also hoodwinked the people of Chitral that she would turn the school into a mini-Cambridge once she is back, which proved a complete farce after she returned to Pakistan after the restoration of her visa.
On the ground, Schofield has miserably failed to turn around the school financially and academically and instead kept approving hefty amount for herself and her visiting foreign friends-turned-teachers, who were allegedly given accommodations at a luxurious hotel run by one of her closest friends in Chitral.
According to a letter available with this correspondent, Schofield got Rs5.975 million approved from the governing body for herself and for the “visiting volunteer teachers and advisors” who visited the school from March 2013 to October 2014 and stayed in Chitral. According to documents, the amount was withdrawn from Al-Falah bank branch Chitral.
Interestingly, the British woman has been making bank with a particular individual from the day one and she keeps shifting millions of rupees from the school account to the bank where her “blue-eyed” bank manager has gotten a new job on a huge package while banking on the huge deposits from the school.
The governing body also approved Rs4.875 million under the head of her overdue salary but did not mention the duration against which the hefty sum of Rs5.975 was approved as accommodation expenses of her and her visiting foreign teachers.
“It was resolved at a meeting of the governing body of the Langlands School and College on 3rd March 2017 that overdue salary amounting to Rs48,75000 should be paid to Carey Schofield from the school’s bank account held at Bank Al-Falah in Chitral,” reads the governing body letter.
“It was also resolved at the meeting that accommodation expenses Rs59,75,121 incurred by the principle [Schofield] between March 2013 and October 2014 for and for herself and for visiting volunteer teachers and advisors should be paid to Miss Carey Schofield from the school’s bank account held at Bank Al-Falah in Chitral,” reads another governing letter.
People from different walks of life, students, teachers and parents, who talk to this correspondnet on the financial mismanagement in the school, have demanded of Khyber-Pakhtunkwa and federal governments to launch a thorough probe into the misuse of school funds as the academy gets huge donations from both the governments every year.
They said that late Langlands never opted for these ‘extravaganzas’ like the incumbent principal who is already facing litigation in Peshawar High Court for “illegally” terminating services of seven teachers without citing any reason except for mentioning ‘dishonesty’ in their termination letters.
Talking to The Punch, former district nazim Haji Mafirat Shah demanded “physical and finical audit of school’s account and a third-party validation” of the school established by late Major Langlands, who built the school brick by brick during his stay as principal for 23 years.
According to Shah, the late Langlands also used to bring volunteer teachers from abroad but he never spent a single penny on them from the school’s funds to accommodate them in luxurious hotels like the current English woman principal of the school.
The students of the school had a track record of making it to the professional colleges but only this year (2019) 23 students failed in matriculation examination, while 11 students in 1st year and not a single student made it to the professional colleges anywhere in the country.
Due to the poor performance, the strength of students has also considerably gone down in the institution, once known for imparting quality education in Chitral.
When contacted, Sirajul Mulk, one of the members of the board of governors, denied any illegality in the affairs of the school and claimed that all documents regarding financial transactions were “bogus” and “phoney”. He said that the British principal of the school tries her best to attract investment to the school and parents and teachers were happy with her performance.
Mulk said that he has had no financial interest with the school or the principal, who, he said, was the best and dedicated teacher in the school.
An email was sent to Carey Schofield to get her version on the issue since she is currently living London, however, she did not respond.
Disclaimer: The content of the story and the supporting documents are the sole property of the author — The Punch editorial board