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Speech at the Foundation Stone Laying ceremony of the Aga Khan School 1962-09-09

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Event - 1962-09-09
Sunday, 1962, September 9
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)

(On 9th September 1962 His Royal Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan laid the foundation of a school enormous in size and most modern in concept, being constructed at the grounds of Aga Khan Gymkhana, Karachi, under the aegis of HRH. Prince Aga Khan’s Central Education Board for Pakistan. The project when completed would cost about Rs. 63 lacs, a major portion of which will be donated by His Royal Highness.)

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentelmen,

The President of My Central Education Board of Pakistan has told you something about the scope of the Project whose foundation stone I have laid today. Nowhere in Pakistan, nor anywhere else has my community embarked on a construction of a School, anyway similar in size or in scope as the one whose construction begins today. In fact, I believe and I can say that in the complex of the social services, which we run all over the world, this will be my community’s single largest institution and probably the most modern in concept. I believe it will also be amongst the largest three institutions of the sub-university level in this country.

The decision to embark upon such a scheme was difficult to take, and has taken the leaders of the community and myself many months of hard work and deliberations. The planning of the school has taken well over a year and we have gone out of our way to seek the advice of as many educational authorities as possible including our own, the African territories of Kenya and Tanganyika.

Some people may feel that this school and the one which we propose to build later at Kharadhar are too large and expensive to justify their existence, but I think it is important to point out that when our new institutions are complete, we will not be able to cater to all the children of school-going age in my community. In fact, the existing institutions will have to continue their work, if we want to take care of all the children who should go to school. Added to this is our very sincere desire that other people will make use of our institutions and that the non-Ismaili educational authorities will support us and help us in running these new schools.

As to the cost of these buildings, it may appear prohibitive. However, it is no more than a platitude to say that spending money on education is an investment. I cannot see how my community nor the country as a whole, can make the kind of progress we desire so much unless we have an ever increasing output of qualified manpower. Nor can I see how the government of this great Muslim country could undertake, even with the best will in the world, to provide education to all the well-suited Pakistani children. We are making, therefore, a major effort to solve our own educational problems and at the same time to do something of a very real and permanent value to the complex of educational institutions in Pakistan.

We hope and pray that these institutions will receive the support they deserve. And it is in this great hope that I have come here to lay the foundation stone of this school on my way to India.

Thank you.

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