Driving across the Mall road of Lahore on a working day has become a nuisance in itself. As the traffic signals halt, the attention is deflected to the mesmerizing edifice which surrounds both sides. And the most distinctive is the institution which was established on the objective of educating “youths of good family’’ (as mentioned on the Aitchison’s website). Lahore’s Aitchison College, is enriched with multidimensional facilities and is immersed as a goal for any Lahori boy or his family. It is an exclusive college designed to cater the sons of the elite or princely families. The notion was to train the royal sons of India to cope with the responsibilities that lay ahead of them as rulers of their respective states.

Reverting to historic evidence this college was the third in line, the first two chiefs colleges being Rajkumar College in Kathiawar and Mayo College in Ajmer, India. A landmark development materialised in the history of Mayo College when the foundation stone laying ceremony of the known today as the sister school Mayo College Girls’ School took effect from 1st of August 1987. Moreover, the machismo or male chauvinism was also abolished when the Rajkumar College for Girls was inaugurated on 24th March 2011. Embedded in this step is an awakening of conscience submerged with liberalism. It is presumably obvious that the idea of a co-educated Aitchison College would strike the male ego exhibiting their non-tolerant attitude towards the notion.

However, does that sum up to the fact that the youths of good family only signify male? Or are the finest elite still not educated enough to accept equal opportunities for their female gender.

More than 130-year-old legacy of Aitchison College has managed to manufacture an image of ‘Best’ leaders of tomorrow will be boys. Making it co-ed would change that image and impression as girls have an equal right to receive such national attention and thus they should. This would also result in exposure to diverse values and lifestyles and a rich academic experience. All-boys, semi-boarding school also creates a very toxic, chauvinistic environment, where emphasis is placed on being manly (phaddaybaaz), concepts that are outdated for today's world where focus is shifting away from such mind set towards embracing a more emotional, sensitive and sober image of manhood.

Aitchison's culture provides unique opportunities which are not available within most other private schools. For instance, the large grounds for sports which are incredibly important for girls to have access to, so that girls are also encouraged to play. This would also lead to a change in the mind-set that girls ‘cannot play sports’. A co-ed setting would also mimic the real world to the students as in most business and community activities people must know how to interact with both male and female. Hence, would enable to get practical experience in learning, how to collaborate, solve problems and resolve conflict with both sexes. It would also develop maturity level in individuals as they would know how to interact with the opposite sex and treat them as people outside of just their romantic interests.

An increase in the high success rate of international university placements of this college, makes me wonder on how one can adjust in a co-ed university environment and accepting an alien gender of various backgrounds when they are ignorant to the ones in their own country. The segregated system reduces the mutual respect and acceptability between the two sexes and is later reflected in their fields of work and relationships.

An extremely vital point that requires outright attention is the alumni events such as Founders Day, Goa Night and other activities frequently take place at Aitchison which strengthens the network and ties amongst the old boys who are playing the major role to run this country including existing Prime Minister and former Chief Justices of Pakistan. Now it is to ponder that why girls are deprived of such opportunities when they can also stay connected and become part of as a well-knit system.

Although Pakistan has formalized its commitment to improving education sector outcomes through several actions in the recent past, including the insertion of Article 25-A in the Constitution which guarantees free and compulsory basic education for all children 5-16 years of age. In addition Article 25 (2) states that ‘there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex’ and where the discrimination takes place the literal rule of subsection (3) clearly states that ‘Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the protection of women and children.’ Thus the constitution of Pakistan clearly protects the rights of women and also permits to include any provision to demolish discrimination between genders.

Our respectable Prime Minister, declaring Aitchison as his other ‘Home’, is well informed of the role played by female in the growth of a nation. His political party’s manifesto pledges reform especially in promotion of female education. The highest number of female voters trusting his leadership skills now demand equivalent opportunities for themselves. ‘Naya Pakistan' concept labels a ‘system of acceptability and tolerance’. Hence, transforming Aitchison into a co-education college would unquestionably raise female levels of confidence and self-reliance.