Lahore is the city famous for food, cultural heritage and Aitchison College. What is so special about this college is its legacy. Aitchisonians have always excelled in all walks of life be it bureaucracy, politics, law, sports and the list goes on. The period of Mr M Shamim Khan marked the era of the new dawn in the history of Aitchison when students from middle-class families made their way into this prestigious institute. He was an educational stalwart who used one simple weapon: merit.
Aitchison was the college famous for its altruistic approach for students; it was not a money-making institute that sells its souls to the devil. Nowadays we don’t see any difference between this college and other private institutes that have joined this bandwagon to steal money from the pockets of parents. So the story begins from the year 2014 when the administration/Board of Governors of this college dropped the first bomb on the lives of the innocent parents when the fees hiked from Rs 15,300 to 23,700. This draconian tactic did not end there; it started playing this new role of the authoritarian regime and attacked again with the rise of 20% in 2016. Now it seemed as if the administration had mastered this art of drone attacks by raising fees to the maximum level according to the Punjab School Fee ordinance in 2017 again. Now because of their sincere efforts, Aitchison will soon rise as a business enterprise that will take over all the private institutes in sucking blood from the veins of parents. This hike in fee without any reasonable justification has virtually held every parent hostage in Aitchison.
The monopoly of administration in terms of fee rise with the consensus of Board of Governors is the invitation for doom. ”Part of the problem is that Aitchison’s administration is walking into the buzzsaw”. It is beyond my imagination that this shelling is coming from the same administration whose bursars and financial managers had surplus funds in 2015, as stated by their acting principal Mr Ameer Hussain in his address to parents of new admissions. Just to add insult to the injury they have come to cheap tactics recently where every student has to pay 5 times more for car sticker for entry in his own school. My simple question to you people is: does a student have to pay to get an entry to his own school in which he is already paying a hefty amount?
Aitchison has always been known for its evening games and now they have also started charging for this, which is contradictory to their 130-year-old legacy. The administration is playing with fire with repute of the institute at stake. If the Aitchisonian administration wins the escalation game and forces parents to concede, then the year 2018 will mark the admission of the last boy from the middle-class family. My eyes can’t believe what they are seeing. Is this the same institute where directive of merit was given by CM Shehbaz Sharif?
Circles within Aitchison are gossiping but sooner or later this issue will become the talk of the town. To be honest with you, parents do not like confrontation but the contagious administration will not be able to hold it for long. The new principal Mr Micheal Thomson should act sensibly as he is trapped by the administration. Otherwise, he would also meet the same fate as his predecessors Prof Hafeez and Mr Agha Ghazanfar. The new principal should not only mend his ways but also concentrate on taking back the lost prestige of this institute. It is good to give educational independence to students and launch new programs like ACOBA Academy of Cricket but he is digging his own grave by playing in the hands of the administration.
In the end, I would like to conclude by giving a message to parents “we have to be better than we have ever been”. It takes decades to build a legacy and few decisions to bring it down.