They say all good things come to an end. Back in the 1990s, a number of rear windshields on cars across Lahore boasted an all but familiar sticker. It read Esena is the Pride of Every Girl. And for many years it remained so. Sadly though, the school, which happened to be the first English medium private school for girls in Lahore, has seen the last of its days. Following a run of more than fifty years, Esena Foundation High School has finally closed its doors to students in Lahore.
Found in 1964 on the Zahoor Elahi Road right next to FC College, Esena was the only private school for girls at its time and continued its meritorious run for a number of years at a stretch. Its founder, Begum Anese Majid Khan (1928-2013), was among the pioneers of private schools in the city and inspired a number of other institutions like the Lahore Grammar School and Beaconshouse School System.
Begum Anese also authored several books and was awarded the President’s Award for Pride of Performance in 2008 for her services to the education sector. Besides, she also won several other international awards in recognition of her services for girls’ education as well as Islam.
Beginning with a group of 250 students, Esena focused on becoming a quality private institute that offered the best English educational standard for girls of Lahore. It later added the British O’ level system of education to its operations to augment the matriculation system.
However, Esena remained unable to cope with the rising competition from other educational networks. While other schools extended their operations first to other cities and then to other provinces, Esena remained confined to the premises it first began its operations from.
With Begum Anese’s death in 2013, the operation were taken over by her granddaughter. But regrettably, the worsening of fortunes continued. Another factor that contributed to the school’s decline was the continued switching of senior and sought after teachers to other educational institutes against better remunerations.
The news will indeed bring profound sadness and nostalgia for thousands of alumni of this once premier institute of Lahore. But we are hoping that the spirit for which the school strived for will live on for years to come.