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Your Excellency Mr. Salmaan Taseer, Governor Punjab and Chairman of our Board of Governors
Members of the Board of Governors
Distinguished Guests
Proud Parents
Even Prouder Aitchisonians
Welcome to our 123rd Founder’s Day.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am an Old Boy who has become the new Principal. I say that not so much to inform you, as to remind myself of the honour you have bestowed on me.
By entrusting to me and to my colleagues in the Faculty the care and the education of your children, you have reminded us that teaching is the noblest vocation known to the civilized world. It is what academics everywhere live for; it is what Socrates died for.
I will try to compress within the next 20 minutes or so the aspirations, the achievements and the awards that Aitchison College – your College - has sought and gained over the past academic year that ended in June 2008.
Let me begin by welcoming you to Aitchison. It is only 123 years young, and still growing. We have 1974 pupils in all enrolled with us. 654 of them are in our Junior School. They spend five years there as Children.
From Junior School, they move to Prep School where they spend another three years, and become Boys. We have 570 of them there at the moment.
From Prep, they move to Senior School where they spend their last five years and mature into Men. We have 750 of them at Senior School, studying for their Cambridge O and A levels.
The three heights in the College choir you just heard represent those three ages of Aitchisonians.
To teach our pupils, we have a Faculty of 168. They are qualified, they are dedicated and they are motivated. Above all, they devote their waking hours to educating your children.
If children are God’s gift to their parents, pupils are the burden teachers willingly accept from those parents.
Let me pause here for a moment, therefore, and ask you to applaud the commitment of our Faculty and their contribution. Thank you, Faculty. Without you, Aitchison would be just a name, not a brand of excellence.
Supporting them, we have 587 staff. These include Boarding Staff, Games, Riding, Library, Transport, Sanitation, Campus Maintenance and even dhobis and turban dyers who wind the turbans you see in such numbers here today.
Without their constant care and attention, such a large campus could not be maintained, nor the boys turned out with the elegance that evokes such admiration.
Your Excellency, I spoke earlier of Aitchison’s Aspirations, Achievements and Awards. Our aspirations quite simply are to restore and to improve Aitchison College in every way. That is being done both academically and administratively.
Let me now highlight some of our Achievements during the past year.
At Junior School, we have encouraged reading beyond the textbook, reviewed and improved the teaching methods, introduced over 25 co-curricular activities on Saturdays, and promoted greater participation in sports. Admissions have been rationalized, so that incoming children – of whom 180 came in last year from 30 different pre-schools – are offered places by June, rather than be kept waiting until September just before the new scholastic year begins. Here I would like to pay tribute to the Junior School staff who have been energised by their dynamic new Headmaster Mr. Ashaq Hussain.
At Prep School, our boys have excelled in Inter-school Quiz, Poetry and Spelling Bee Competitions. Saad-uz-Zaman Adhami (E2B) won the regional championship and was also the Runner-up at the National level. He also stood first in Pakistan in the 4th Kangaroo Mathematics Competition held at Government College University.
Prep School boys have toured within our country, attended Basic Ski courses in the Northern Areas organized by the Adventure Foundation, and visited Indian Punjab.They have been to hospitals, to schools for special children, and through charity drives have donated an incubator worth Rs 6 lacs to the Fatima Memorial Hospital, Lahore. They have seen a premature baby, struggling for his life in one of the incubators they donated. One day, I hope that infant will find a place here in Aitchison College.
Prep has reached new heights under its conscientious and dedicated headmaster Mr. Muhammad Tahir.
The final test - the quality control - of our educational flow that begins with Junior School, passes upwards through Prep School, and ultimately goes into the market, is our Senior School.
During the last academic year, at Senior School 53 Aitchisonians got 7 or more O levels. Your Excellency, the march-past you just witnessed was of the blazer holders who have won such distinctions. In the Cambridge Board results for 2008, our Waled Jehandad topped in ‘O’ level Computer Studies throughout Lahore.
Ayezan Malik topped both in Lahore and throughout Pakistan in the 7, 8 & 9 ‘O’ level category. He also topped throughout the world in Mathematics. At the ‘A’ level stage, 14 Aitchisonians attained ‘A’s in at least three subjects. Hamza Aftab, the son of our Resident Medical Officer Major Aftab Ahmad, topped throughout the world in Physics.
Twenty-eight of our students went abroad in 2008 for higher studies – 15 to the USA, 7 to the UK, 5 to Canada, and one to Germany. The high standards of our own universities attracted 23 of our students. The Lahore School of Economics absorbed 10, LUMS another 8, and the 3 went to the Aga Khan University. This year, 59 have already applied to US and Canadian universities. Some have been offered early and / or conditional placements. Others are competing for places in our own universities within Pakistan.
06 March 2009
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