Aden College History 1952-1967
Aden College was officially opened by Sir Christopher Cox in the presence of the Governor of Aden, at the time, Sir Tom Hickinbotham on January 12th, 1953.
The College was up and running and received its first batch of students in Sept. 1952.
It was located in Sheikh Othman close to Dar Saad, which was part of the Al Abdali Sultanate of Lahej.
At the time of its commission, the College was a well-designed and well equipped facility by western standards. There were excellent teachers, excellent laboratories, library, recreation areas for sports, art and wood workshops, large hall, theatre, large dining hall, mosque and a coffee shop.
Sports teams, Prefects and Buddy systems were organized and functioned very well under the constant supervision of the College staff and senior prefects.
The curriculum of the College which lasted 4-6 years was designed to prepare the students for the UK GCE (General Certificate of Education O level) and Advanced Level of London University. Students who opted to continue their studies abroad were admitted to the Advanced level provided they passed at least 4-6 GCE O- level subjects.
Students who passed their A-level and received good standing were sent to British Institutes or Universities for further studies in all fields of disciplines.
Admission and enrollment to the College was stringent. All Aden public and private intermediate students competed for entry to the prestigious College. In addition, top students from Eastern and Western Protectorates were allocated seats for admission to the College.
In total about 60 students from the Protectorates were accepted every year based on their final marks at the unified Intermediate school graduation exam.
Only students from the Protectorates and Somalia lived at the College boarding facility.
The language of instruction in the college was English (except for lessons in Arabic language, literature and religion. See scanned breakdown of classroom subjects on the right).The highly paid teachers were mostly from Britain but some were from India, Sri Lanka and Aden nationals who graduated from overseas universities or acquired practical teaching experience.
Due to its geographical location, Aden was an important strategic military base, communications centre, free commercial and trading port. It attracted many foreign nationals from Europe, Africa, Australia, the Americas and Asia.
Aden College was enriched by the multi-cultural character of the population of the colony and the variety of students cultural backgrounds.
Jews, Greeks, Somalis, Indians, Parsees, and other Arabs who resided in the region at that time, were enrolled in the college.
The students were bused daily to the College and had lunch there. The college staff encouraged the students to do their homework after lunch under the supervision of one of the teachers or a college Prefect. Other students participated in extra-curriculum activities like sports, athletics, art and/or woodwork. Learning was a full time affair.
College in-house competitions and tournaments were encouraged in the fields of learning and sports at all levels. Inter-schools sports tournaments in athletics and other sports were also organized throughout the year to promote schools competitions, enhance body and mind performances to achieve high standards.
At the time, families in Aden and the neighbouring regions believed strongly in the importance of education and learning. Many families sent their children to school at the age of six years. There was 4 years of Primary, 3 years of Intermediate and 4-6 of High schooling.
Due to the increased general public awareness, exposure to education and gradual demand for learning in the late 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, private schools flourished. Students began to find other alternative venues for education in other institutes. Private schools like Franciscan Convent School, Rajamanar Commercial Institute, the Gujarati Indian Institute, St. Anthony’s Convent School, Roman Catholic Mission School (RCM or Al Badri), the Islamic Institute (Al Behani), Bazarah School, and the Technical Institute were but a few examples.
That education and learning system continued until the early years of independence in 1967. Unfortunately, as the years passed-by after independence, and as the country entered into political and economical turmoil, un-stability and uncertainty, high standard education and learning suffered which lead to abandoning one of the most advanced educational system in the region at Aden College.
Today, the college building still stands and desperate for dire renovations. It is unknown what has become of the once most advanced educational system in the region.