PRESIDENT MKAPA AND AGA KHAN LAY FOUNDATION STONE FOR AN INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN DAR ES SALAAM - DAR TO HAVE NEW AGA KHAN SCHOOL LAUNCHED - 2005-03-17
His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, today joined President Mkapa of Tanzania in laying the foundation stone for the construction of a new Aga Khan Academy in Dar es Salaam.The Academy will be a residential school offering pre-primary to higher secondary education benchmarked against world-class standards. A scholarship programme will support entry by top-ranked students of limited means.
This academic centre of excellence will be the third in a planned international network of 19 Academies being established by the Aga Khan Development Network across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. The first Academy was opened in December 2003 in Mombasa, Kenya, while the groundbreaking for a second Academy took place in Matola, Mozambique in June 2004. Academies are planned for other countries including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mali, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Syria.
'Exceptional individuals are as abundant in the developing world as anywhere else, from the cities and from the countryside,' emphasised the Aga Khan. 'The pity is that too many are never given the opportunity to have their minds challenged and stretched and developed to their full potential.'
The Aga Khan underlined the need to create world-class schools in the developing world so that exceptional students with the financial means do not have to study abroad - with the risk they might not return. Students who cannot afford to study abroad will be able to obtain a world-class education right here in Tanzania. The Academies will also attract the very best teachers and invest in teacher training, thereby uplifting the overall quality of education in the country.
This network of Academies will embrace a student-centred learning approach that will develop critical thinking skills, the foundation of lifelong learning. Students will be exposed to a rich and varied curriculum based on the International Baccalaureate (IB), recognised by over 1,700 universities around the world. It will produce graduates with a global outlook, strong values and leadership skills, a sense of responsible citizenship and sensitivity to the pluralistic nature of the world.
Students will be required to learn at least two languages, including English. Both students and faculty will be encouraged to travel to other Academy campuses around the world on exchange programmes that will expose them to multiple cultures, and teaching and learning experiences.
The foundation stone-laying ceremony coincides with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the first Aga Khan School, which opened in Zanzibar in 1905. A second school opened in Dar es Salaam two years later, the beginning of a network that now totals more than 300 Aga Khan schools in Africa and Asia, from pre-primary to higher secondary. Many who attended the schools have made an important contribution to the development of their communities and their countries.
What is also unique about this Academy, is that it will be co-located with an Institute for Educational Development (IED). This component of the Aga Khan University Karachi (AKU) will be responsible not only for the professional development of teachers in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania but within the region. To date, over six hundred teachers and education leaders in East Africa have been trained by programmes of the AKU - IED.
The Academies will form part of an international network linked not only with each other, but with some of the best educational institutions in the world. Already, partnerships are shared with the Phillips Academy in Andover, USA and the Schule Schloss Salem in Germany.