Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:17 am Post subject: Aga Khan Academies (General)
Guest Editorial: Dr Graham Ranger
In our first guest editorial, Academic Director Dr Graham Ranger shares his opinion on the facets of the Academies that are distinctive. He reflects on how the Academies prepare students for a rapidly changing world.
The guest editorial offers a window into the Academies and the developing network. We have the benefit of working with many partners in and beyond AKDN, who enrich what we do. In future issues of the newsletter editorial, some of our partners will offer their perspectives on aspects of our work through their close involvement with us.
My first contact with the Academies was in February 2016 and I joined as Academic Director in January 2017. My selection process included visiting the Academies in Mombasa and Hyderabad, reporting back, and spending several days meeting future colleagues in Aiglemont. Overall, the five-month process (yes, five months!) was educative, pleasurable, fascinating and demanding. I began to think differently about my own career, and how I could use my experience to support the development of the Academies’ network, about sustainable development and about the role of education in long-term, societal development. It was an important introduction to our work and to the way His Highness prioritises the education of the young as a catalyst for the development of societies.
On 29 April 2018, the Province of Ontario and the Aga Khan Academies network of schools formally extended their partnership on mutually beneficial education projects, as part of the renewal of initiatives under an agreement between the Province and the Ismaili Imamat.
The Agreement of Cooperation that established the partnership was signed on 25 May 2015 by Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne and Mawlana Hazar Imam. Joint projects have included the secondment of Ontario teachers to the Aga Khan Academies and a Post-Secondary Access Program that provides opportunities for Academies graduates to attend world-class post-secondary institutions in Ontario. Other joint initiatives have included policy dialogues and resources to promote pluralistic outlooks and cultural diversity.
The Honourable Mitzie Hunter and the Honourable Michael Coteau from the Government of Ontario, and President Sheherazade Hirji of the Ismaili Council for Ontario, together hosted a signing event at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto to renew the Agreement’s Appendix One, between the Province and the Aga Khan Academies. A second Appendix was also renewed that will allow the partners to continue to explore ways to promote inclusive understanding.
“Not only does it renew and enhance our partnership, which is rooted in our common values of enhancing the intellect and promoting pluralism, it also demonstrates how innovative collaborations can achieve extraordinary results,” remarked President Hirji.
“Focus on access to education is something we take seriously here in Ontario,” stated Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. “This partnership is what Ontario is all about…We are building on the vision of His Highness.”
The partnership renewal provides for the extension of the teacher secondment programme, in which Ontario teachers spend time at an Aga Khan Academy to help build outstanding teaching and learning practice, while gaining first-hand experience in a different cultural and geographic context. The renewed Appendix provides for up to 30 teacher-year secondments over five years.
Graham Ranger, Academic Director at the Aga Khan Academies, noted in his remarks that Ontario teachers seconded over the past three years have had a catalytic impact at the schools, sharing their expertise in areas such as literacy development and robotics. In their role as coaches, they have enriched the quality of professional development and teaching quality and contributed to outreach programmes with local schools.
The Post-Secondary Access Program has also been renewed and extended and provides Talented Academies graduates in financial need with tuition waivers to attend Ontario institutions of higher education. This programme provides life-changing opportunities for these students, who have received financial support from the Aga Khan Academies during their earlier education. In Ontario, the students help enrich and add diversity to their university communities through their talents, values and global experiences. Over the next five years, the Province will provide tuition waiver grants for up to 100 new students.
Kelvin Nduma, 22, a grant recipient who had attended the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, spoke about his background and what the opportunity for higher education in Ontario means to him. He said, “As you can imagine, once a student in a local Kenyan boarding school where I had to wash clothes myself with bare hands at the age of 10, walk several kilometers to the river to fetch drinking water and was forced to study in classrooms with no power, my presence today in a world-ranking university with all sorts of amenities provided is a dream come true… I am a beacon of hope to my family and community.”
Another tuition waiver recipient, 20-year-old Muslima Niyozmamadova from the remote, mountainous Pamir region in Tajikistan, is committed to sharing her good fortune with others. A student of architecture at the University of Toronto, she hopes eventually to support development and quality of life in her home country through enhancing the urban landscape. She is also working to address poverty by empowering children from low-income families to succeed in their education — an initiative she began at the Aga Khan Academy and is continuing amongst homeless youth in Canada.
The personal stories of the two Academies graduates were a testament to the power of the partnership between the Province of Ontario and the Aga Khan Academies. As Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, noted, “We’re better off working together on this planet.”
Aga Khan Academy students win varsity scholarships
Monday, May 21, 2018 12:00
Seven beneficiaries of the Aga Khan Academy’s Talent Identification Programme will begin their tertiary education in various universities across the world.
During the 12th academy’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, the students were awarded with diplomas in a colourful event attended by Dr Mahmoud Eboo, the Resident Representative of His Highness the Aga Khan and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Canada.
The event was emotional for the graduates and their families, friends and teachers; all looking back at the journey that led them to where they are today.
For some students, the experience at the Academy had at one time been a pipe dream.
William Baya who has been at the academy for six years won a full scholarship to attend Washington and Lee University in the United States to pursue a degree in Physics and Engineering.
The recent graduate joined the school in 2011 from Ganze Sub County in Kilifi County.
"I'm a first-generation student to attend university, making this a very huge step not just for me but my family too," says Baya.
Raised by a single mother young Japheth Elisha a graduate hopes to give back to his community back in Kisumu once he completes his studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
He has received a full scholarship to study Financial Economics/ Business.
Prudence Hainga from Kisumu is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar and will be attending the University of Edinburgh fully funded to study Political Science.
"I want to realise my childhood dream of fighting injustice and corruption in Kenya...learning how political systems function and what others have done to ensure sustainable development as well as spread out opportunities for their citizens...I am motivated to use my knowledge as a weapon against discrimination and inequality and work for a better Kenya – a Kenya that feels like home to all," says Prudence.
The programme works to identify top year 6 students from across Kenya with exceptional intellectual ability and leadership potential.
TIP ensures that the students are fully funded for their study at the academy.
Seventy six International Baccalaureate students were Saturday awarded with diplomas at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa during its 12th graduation ceremony.
The students have been offered more than USD 6 million (Sh600 million) in scholarships and financial aid to study in some of the top universities such as Yale, Brown, University College of London, University of Melbourne, University of Toronto and McGill.
Dr Mahmoud Eboo, the Aga Khan Development Network Representative to Canada, urged the students to use their knowledge and opportunity to mentor their communities.
"You have a responsibility to others to use your knowledge to improve quality of life of others.
"Do not forget those who supported you. Engage in the global society and share wisdom and knowledge," Dr Dr said.
He also urged them to take advantage of the alumni online portal launched for mentorship and support.
"We are working to get university scholarships, internships and jobs with the Aga Khan Development Network.
"Our newly launched online alumni portal will easily connect you with the alumni for jobs and mentorship," he said.
Three graduates - Akshi Khimji, David Kairu and Matthew Wabwire - got scholarships to the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and Drexel Global Scholar respectively.
The Aga Khan Academy Mombasa is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, offering IB curriculum.
Aga Khan Academies- Building Intellectual Capital in East Africa
The entire Aga Khan network mainly through the Aga Khan Education Services has been instrumental in promoting education in the region. This includes the Aga Khan Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary schools in all East African countries, Aga Khan University which is hosted by the Aga Khan Hospital as well as the Aga Khan Academies.
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