Parents Decry Lacklustre Arrangements At Aitchison College K2 Entrance Exam

Parents Decry Lacklustre Arrangements At Aitchison College K2 Entrance Exam
LAHORE: Parents were perturbed over lack of proper seating arrangements and other basic facilities for parents who had come to Aitchison College accompanying their children at the entry exam to the Junior School's second grade, or 'K2', The Friday Times (TFT) has learnt. 

Speaking to TFT, a leading businessmen who wished to not be named said that the school charged Rs. 40,000 for the admission test but made them sit in a tent without any proper seating arrangements. 

Concurring with him, the mother of one of the competing students said, "this year 1,000 children appeared in entrance test for grade 2, which takes the total tally to Rs. 40 million in a day, but the seating arrangements and other facilities provided to parents were not upto the mark. It doesn’t go with what we hear about the school and its elite standards". Other parents were also disgruntled at the arrangements, especially considering what the Aitchison College administration had earned from them in just a day. 

Despite heavy rain, parents had to sit in tents 

Agreeing with her, Ghulam Rasul, a chartered accountant who came all the way from Lake City with his nephew, told TFT that there was heavy rain yesterday and the tents were placed in one of the gardens of the school, which was full of rain water. He opined that the tents were also leaking. 

“We even had to purchase water from the caterers, as no water dispenser was placed for us,” he noted. 

Makeshift arrangements should have been made in advance 

The father of one of the children appearing for the exam said that, "we want to request the school administration to at least make indoor seating arrangements for parents who came from different parts of the city, from next year onwards, as Aitchison is a huge school spread over 200 acres". 

“At least they should have made makeshift arrangements for the rain, and not have made us sit outside,” he said. 

Why Aitchison College? 

“We want our children to get admission at Aitchison College because children who had studied here have managed to make connections at right places be it with politicians, bureaucrats, landlords, ministers or generals,” one of the fathers said, adding that his son is likely to succeed in Pakistan only if he gets a strong network of friendly connections in the initial years of his academic life. 

Agreeing with him, another parent repeated the adage that a man is known by the company he keeps. “If my son gets admission here he will become a leader in the years to come,” he said. 

Only 192 children will be selected out of 1000 

Speaking to TFT, one of the school officials said that this year 192 pupils will be selected from almost a thousand children who appeared in the admission test. 

“After the result of the test, interviews of children and their parents would take place after which a final list of selected students would be displayed,” he said. 

When asked if this year's charges were too high for the admission exam, the official boasted that Aitchison College is a "high-end school" in which children belonging to affluent families take admission, including those of ministers, bureaucrats, landlords, politicians etc. for whom this entrance test fee is "peanuts". 

“Caterers were engaged for this day who had served fast food, cold drinks and juices to families against the payment they had made,” he said. 

Efforts underway to get children ‘selected’ 

Sources privy to the admission test management behind the scenes told TFT that people were making all out efforts and approaching different officials at high positions to get their children selected. 

“A large number of bureaucrats, politicians, and landlords are approaching the college principal to get their children enrolled and selected for admission,” one of the sources said, adding that it was likely some children would be able to get selected using ‘political influence’ because this has never been ruled out in the school's history. 

Children of alumni are also considered to get favourable treatment in the admission exam, as Aitchison College is considered an 'elite legacy' school that trained the sons of tribal chiefs and nawabs in the colonial era. 

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy. He also hosts the Hassan Naqvi Show on Naya Daur.