"Admissions are made strictly on merit"

Time To Fulfil Pledges
Thursday, May 01, 2008


Aitchison College is one of the best educational institutions not only of Pakistan but of Asia. It enjoys world-wide reputation. It has maintained a high standard of education since its inception. The students are well-behaved. There is no leniency on disciplinary grounds. Stress is laid on moral conduct and good manners. Many legends had the honour of studying at the institution. The College has produced big names in the fields of politics, sport, industry, bureaucracy and many other professions. Aitchisonian list of luminaries is long and covers personalities not only of the subcontinent but also of many Englishmen. Though the students belonging to elite families are considered as the college icons, yet a big chunk of the students belonging to the middle class had been and are part of the institution. The College provides to its students much better facilities than any other educational institution in the country. All these factors make the College a unique educational institution.

However, there is a general impression among the people that the admission process is cumbersome and not based on merit. This thinking is totally nonsense. Admissions are made strictly on merit and the process is simple. Those who try “sifarish” to get their children admitted have to face disappointment.

Aitchison College Principal Shamim Saifullah Khan is a towering personality. During his long tenure, he has showed firmness, dedicated to the cause of maintaining the College as a centre of excellence. He is straightforward, bold, possesses strong moral character, and firmly believes in principles. He believes in actions based on rules and all his actions are influenced not by personalities, wealth, status and big names but are based on his vision  to inculcate good manners, confidence, discipline, humility, and truth among the students. He fails to melt under any pressure and strives to keep faith with the vision and ideals of the Aitchison College's founding fathers.

He strongly feels that parents play a vital role in the children's upbringing. The parents should guide their children as to make them realize the importance of time with stress on time-management that helps the children cope the situation even under pressure. The children should learn to complete their assignments/ tests within the stipulated time. Children's concepts should be cleared logically e.g. Why is a square a square and a rectangle a rectangle etc. The concept should be clear in the children's minds. Parents should stress upon on logic “WHY?”

Cramming-up by the students should be strictly avoided. Parents should try to build up confidence in their children. The kids should learn to interact directly as going to KFC or McDonalds, they should place orders asking for their delicacies rather than the parents. The children should attend big gatherings, so as to gain confidence. In the entrance admission examination hall, around 500 to 600 children take test and if they have attended large childrens' functions or gatherings, they will remain cool, and will not be confused in the entrance test. The kids should be taught to mix up and be friendly with children of their age group and not be isolated or pass time with one or two friends. Mr Shamim feels that confidence is the key to success.

Aitchison College is the lineal descendant of the wards' School at Ambala and the Chiefs' Colleges. The College sprawls on a 200-acre campus, located in the heart of Lahore. The College was established on Wednesday, November 3, 1886, when the cornerstone of the school was laid by Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Earl of Dufferin, at the time Governor-General of India. It is named after Charles Umpherston Aitchison Lieutenant governor of the Punjab at the time of the college's establishment. Starting off as a purely boarding school with one main teaching block, the college has evolved into a renowned institution with a multitude of facilities and opportunities. In undivided India,along with Colvin Taluqdars' College in Lucknow and Mayo College in Ajmer, it was regarded as the most prestigious public school in the Indian plains.

Addressing the boys in 1888 Sir Charles Aitchison said:

“Much, very much, is expected of you. I trust you will use well the opportunities here afforded of you both for your education and for the formation of your character. This is an institution from which you will banish everything in thought and word and act that is mean, dishonorable or impure, and in which you will cultivate everything that is virtuous, true, manly and gentlemanly.” Present day Aitchison strives to keep faith with the vision and ideals of its founder, and it is in this context that the College motto reads:

“Perseverance Commands Success”
Aitchison is first and foremost involved in producing “Gentleman” in every sense of this weighty word. Considerable attention is given to the moral, intellectual, physical, emotional and social development of the boys. Qualities of enthusiasm, initiative, high standards of morality, considerate behaviour and discipline are emphasized. Individual effort is rewarded and teamwork is developed throughout the College. Independence and interdependence are valued norms. Good order and just discipline are norms that are the basis of the Aitchison community. The aim of discipline at Aitchison is to encourage the development of self-discipline amongst each individual boy. Boys are expected at all times to behave courteously, honestly and sensibly.

Aitchison College aims at a broad view of the curriculum. It does not regard its main purpose only to examine, grade or certificate its boys on some approved external syllabi. The aim of the curriculum is to not only act within the spirit of the syllabi laid down by the relevant public examination and other authorities, but to offer more to the boys, taking full advantage of the independent nature of the College. Boys take advantage of this broad-based curriculum in activities like debating, where they have represented the College at the world level many times.

It is divided into three schools: Junior School (Grades 1-5), Prep School (Grades 6-8),  and Senior School (Grades 9-13). Each school is subdivided into houses that have members from each grade of that school. Houses are designed to promote inter-house competitions and mentor ship opportunities, led by prefects and house masters.

Old boys who are pursuing their education in Pakistan have their own Aitchisonian clubs in each prominent university including, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Lahore University of Management Sciences and Aga Khan University.
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