Wednesday, 17 July 2013 16:38
Although there has been some discussion going on through HOBA members on social media about the formation of a parallel alumni organization, the cat came out of the bag a couple of days back. A vacancy advertisement was published in a local newspaper asking people, preferably ex-Abdalians to apply for a contractual appointment as an Alumni Officer. It seems that whilst HOBA was only discussing the impact the parallel organization would have on Abdalians, the Principal outsmarted HOBA by taking the lead and announcing the vacancy.
While the terms of engagement for the vacancy are debatable, it seems that some Abdalians see this as a normal activity by alma maters throughout the world. Now that the advertisement has been published and CCH will start receiving applications, it is just a question of time, when the Alumni Officer will be appointed and will start planning and implementing programs that strategically engage alumni. HOBA on the other hand is so far discussing the negative impact this new organization will have on the alumni and only highlighting the feathers in its cap like, conducting golden jubilee, earth quake and IDP relief activities, construction of shuhada monument. It has yet to announce any concrete plans to engage the CCH administration and to convince it that HOBA is the most relevant platform to engage alumni.
Some HOBA members have a considered view that the creation of this new organization has blessings and complete support from some members of the Board of Governors (BOG), who belong to the military and have strong reservations on HOBA being run by civilians. This suspicion may have some merit, as without the support of the BOG the Principal would not have taken on this responsibility, specially when he has tens of other challenges on his plate. But at the same time, it reflects very poorly on HOBA too, that it has not been able to increase its membership in the last 60 years, which currently stands at less than 400 registered members out of a total of approximately 6000 ex-Abdalians.
Though the history of this discomfort between the civil and military tug of war, as to who controls HOBA goes back a decade or so, or even more, the fire was further fueled by the 2013 AGM and reunion at CCH, where the Principal told the gathering about HOBA's interference in the college administration. Whereas the college authorities had no objection for Abdalians to hold their reunion on CCH premises, the Principal categorically announced that AGM and elections will not be allowed to be held within the college.
HOBA has weakened its position during the last 10 years by portraying itself to be a body of Abdalians and yet failing to increase its membership. It has also, rightly or wrongly, strengthened the suspicions of the college authorities that the old boy's association is aggressive in nature and and wants to exercise influence on the college authorities. HOBA has always been a reactionary force instead of proactively engaging the college administration and the alumni in the larger interest of the college. It is about time, that HOBA seriously gets some heads together and engages the college and the alumni in a way that gives comfort to both and truly emerges as a representative body of Abdalians. If this does not happen quickly, then the college's Alumni Officer, despite all the handicaps and hurdles in his way will be successful in reaching out to the alumni, specially the younger lot.
In the long run, the college-run body will probably rely more on the massive donations that ex-Abdalians have the capacity to give to CCH and will not even charge any membership fees, which HOBA relies on heavily just to survive. The college-run alumni officer will also have a greater outreach as he will be able to get 100 members immediately, who have recently passed out from the college, and then add 100 members every year when the 2nd Year cadets pass out from there. In five years time, the college-run body members will surpass HOBA members, where alumni will not need to pay any membership fees even. Only a couple of successful reunions of college-run members will be enough to seal the fate of HOBA.