Aga Khan Education Services (AKES)
The Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) provides schooling and other educational services in over 300 facilities in the developing world, ranging from day care center to higher secondary schools. With roots in the Ismaili community's traditions of educational activity, national service companies in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh now manage these schools and centers
The foundations of the system were laid by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah during the first half of the twentieth century when over a hundred schools were established, mainly for the Ismaili community, in East Africa and South Asia. Under the leadership of the Present Imam, the schools began to broaden their intake of pupils and extend their academic range in the 1950s.
Today, AKES faces the same constraints as other providers of education in the developing world, whether public or private: population growth outstripping resources, educational costs increasing at a faster rate than income, poorly trained teachers, inappropriate curricula and in some areas, the low health and education to diminish these obstacles to educational access and achievement. To increase access, AKES has continued to create schools; in close collaboration with the Aga Khan Housing Boards and AKF, it has also supported community-based school construction. In the north of Pakistan, AKES has increased the number and range of facilities available to girls.
Programme to improve educational quality have been built into the AKES system since the early 1980s. Field-based teacher training was launched in the Northern Areas in 1983. School improvement experiments began at the same time in Sind province in Pakistan, where AKES introduced child-centered teaching methods, and in Tanzania, where new techniques for secondary school teaching in English, Mathematics and Science were implemented in Dar-es-Salam. AKES, Kenya has been the Network pioneer in the uses of computers in the classroom, while many Network initiatives in pre-school education began in AKES, India.
Supported by the Aga Khan Foundation, some of these experiments have been carried out in government schools as well as AKES institutions, so contributing to the improvement of education in the countries in which AKES operates. And with both the national service companies and the Aga Khan Foundation acting as relays, this body of experience in teacher development and school improvement is having impact throughout the Network. The Institute for Educational Development of the Aga Khan University has been created to provide a permanent institutional base that can sustain these and other initiatives in education.