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.
Academies Delegation meets with Government and University leadership in Texas, USA
Austin, Texas, USA, 4 September 2018 - Today, a delegation from the Aga Khan Academies together with representatives from the Ismaili Council for the Unites States met with Rolando B. Pablos, Secretary of State for the State of Texas, USA at the State Capital in Austin.
The group had a collegial and wide-ranging discussion about the work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), the Aga Khan Academies and areas of mutual interest in education. Education is a high priority for both the State of Texas and the AKDN, which share the values of inclusiveness and working to strengthen individuals and societies through education.
The discussion with the Secretary of State was followed by a further meeting at the State Capital with Vice Chancellors and senior leadership from the University of Texas System to discuss potential areas for collaboration.
The University of Texas System includes 14 educational institutions across the state, of which eight are academic universities and six are health institutions. The AKDN’s substantial investments in education include the Aga Khan Academies network of schools, which aim to develop homegrown leaders from all socio-economic and other backgrounds, as well as improve the quality of teaching in the regions where they are located.
As the University of British Columbia’s new Director of the International Baccalaureate Program for the Faculty of Education, I am thrilled that we have the opportunity to partner with and learn alongside the Aga Khan Academy (AKA) in Mombasa, Kenya, and in particular, the Teacher Preparation Programme (TPP). Our team of adjunct faculty look forward to working collaboratively with six new AKA teacher interns and their school mentors over the course of the next 18 months.
Beginning to build relationships from afar and learn about who these teacher interns are as people and emerging educators is our priority. In early January, we had the pleasure of meeting via Skype new AKA teacher interns Lucas Mwafusi, Maurine Akoth, Fiona Makena, Oliver Baya, Iyad Yuka and Phelly Nekesa. They are an enthusiastic and committed group much like the teacher candidates here in our programme in Vancouver! We also enjoyed meeting Tom Abuto, the TPP Coordinator, as well as Jonathan Marsh, Manager of Professional Development, Aga Khan Academies. Most recently, we shared the biographies and photos of our 6 new interns within our faculty as a first step in warmly welcoming them to our global learning community.
Aga Khan Academies celebrate graduating 1,000 global leaders
Hyderabad, India and Mombasa, Kenya, 25 May 2019 - At graduations in India and Kenya, 159 exceptional students joined other alumni in marking the milestone of the 1000th leader to graduate from the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad (India) and its sister school, the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa (Kenya).
One key mission of the Aga Khan Academies programme is to create ethical leaders who work towards a shared goal of improving the lives of people in their own countries and across the globe. The Academies work to create a learning community that is exceptionally diverse, open-minded, culturally rooted and driven to make a positive impact, placing great importance on identifying and nurturing exceptional young people from a wide range of nationalities, religions, and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
Aga Khan Academy sports camps: Playing for the future
In line with its aim to nurture excellence in future generations, the Aga Khan Academies in Mombasa and Hyderabad invited elite sports coaches from among the Jamat to mentor and train promising young sporting talent in Kenya and India. The resulting sports camps held over the past two years have contributed to the evolving legacy of the Jubilee Games.
The summer of 2016 provided an opportunity for Ismaili athletes, participants, and spectators to excel, compete, and unite, as they gathered in Dubai for the second international Jubilee Games. The Games were originally developed as an International Programme, to coincide with the celebrations of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee in 2007-2008.
Following on from the success of the Games held in 2008 in Kenya and 2016 in the UAE, the programme’s legacy aims to harness athletic talent, by developing elite standard athletes as well as aspiring sports coaches. A programme was later established, in order to identify and nurture young, talented athletes, and to match them with skilled coaches and mentors at residential episodes in various parts of the world.
As centres of excellence, The Aga Khan Academies were an ideal fit to host this project. The Academies aim to develop future leaders with the skills and knowledge to support positive development in their societies. At the laying of the foundation stone for the Aga Khan Academy in Dhaka, Mawlana Hazar Imam said that the “academies experience will be a holistic one, with a healthy programme of extracurricular and athletic activities.” One of the flagship features of the Academies is state-of-the-art sporting facilities, where students can excel in football, basketball, swimming, cricket, and hockey, among other sports. Students will often compete in inter-house leagues and represent the Academy in tournaments with other schools.
The partnership with the Jubilee Games programme aimed to create sporting distinction whilst giving Academy students a competitive edge. Elite coaches were identified from within the global Jamat and underwent a rigorous selection process. Upon passing the assessment, they were given the opportunity to travel to the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa or Hyderabad, and offer their time and talent to deliver workshops in badminton and football.
One of the objectives of the camp was to introduce students to a new sport and to raise the standards of coaching amongst teaching staff within both Academies, thereby promoting continuous development and to sow the seeds of sporting excellence. Teachers and students were offered the highest quality training in their chosen sport, and resources were made available to ensure that coaches could deliver similar sessions long after the sports camps had finished.
Each of the Aga Khan Academies promote more than just academic rigour. In Hyderabad in September 2006, Mawlana Hazar Imam said that “the Academies will be concerned with the whole of the human being – mind, body and spirit.” In line with this vision, coaches were encouraged to create an atmosphere that promoted learning, exploration, and expression through sports and physical activity.
Excited students, teachers, and parents received the Badminton camp in Mombasa with joy, excitement, and passion. Many students expressed a desire for additional practice sessions to be included in the school curriculum, so as to further enhance their skills. Teachers from the Academies who took part in the workshops said they had gained personal skills which can also be used outside of teaching sports.
The project not only imparted knowledge to the students, but also provided the coaches with an opportunity to learn. One of the coaches, Sehar Saleh from Kenya, said “I learnt how loving, joyful, and amazing children are. Sharing a common interest such as sport can bring people together in order to make life long memories.”
Fayaz Ladak, a badminton coach from the UK, said it was an “unforgettable experience. We witnessed ambitious children with great potential and made the most of the opportunity to increase their interest in badminton whilst equipping the staff to continue developing the standard of players at the Academy.”
Following the inaugural camps, the programme has expanded this year; the sports camps now include training in swimming, and have increased in capacity in order to accommodate more students. The camps have also introduced new methods of training. Azam Kanani, a badminton coach from Canada said, “After having participated in running the badminton camp in Mombasa for two years now, we have been able to improve the quality of the programme we offer and bring new ways of learning to keep the content fresh.”
For the future, it is hoped that the standard will continue to increase and rise to new heights. Azam’s aspiration is that “these camps will inspire more individuals to take up the game with the aim of competing professionally.”
As Faiz Mitha, Project Lead for Elite Athletes and Coaches for the Jubilee Games said, “These camps are a fantastic way of connecting elite level talent with young, aspiring athletes, as well as keen and passionate teachers and coaches. This project not only helps the athletes and teachers to improve but also enables the coaches to develop their skills. Launching this partnership with the Aga Khan Academies has been a steep learning curve, yet at the same time an incredibly fulfilling experience.”
The Aga Khan Academies exchange program: fostering pluralism within future leaders
“The spirit of pluralism will be further enhanced by the fact that each Academy will be part of a larger network. All of them will be linked…through programs whereby teachers and students will work for a time in a distant setting.” - His Highness the Aga Khan, Hyderabad 2006
Since the founding of the Aga Khan Academies program in 2003, His Highness the Aga Khan has consistently shared his vision of building a worldwide network of Academies that will allow students to spend time studying not only at their own Academy, but at sister Academies too – developing a group of pluralistic, well-rounded and tolerant future leaders, according to press release issued by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
Those hopes are now becoming a reality, through the Aga Khan Academies Student Mobility Program.
After research, planning and consultation, the Exchange Program piloted in 2018, allowing a group of Grade 9 students from the Academy in Mombasa and Hyderabad to “Exchange” with each other for a period of 7 weeks. During this time, the students were able to gain a critical appreciation of their own identity, values and beliefs, as well as those of their peers, whilst understanding and appreciating varying perspectives and outlooks from both social and academic perspectives. In an overarching goal of the program, students also learned more about the work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) within the countries they were visiting.
Students were immersed into their exchange school from the outset. The first-hand experience of living in another culture created challenges which enhanced learning. They had to abide by a new set of rules – both cultural and school based – which created opportunities for personal growth
Through the program, the exchange students were able to experience a different way of living within the context of their own attitudes and beliefs.
Like much of the planned Academies network, the Aga Khan Academies in Hyderabad and Mombasa are situated in developing countries. By participating in the exchange program, students were able to observe development within another country and understand how other countries approach the same challenges, particularly given the similarities between both countries. It will hopefully help students further analyses issues relating to development and inspire them to generate solutions for their own country and other countries in the years ahead.
Across the Academies one important aspect of the curriculum is understanding the work of the AKDN and appreciating that the Academies are part of a wider network.
The Student Mobility Program is soon to start its second cycle. The Program has been extended from 7 weeks to 13 weeks and will engage a larger group of students. As more Aga Khan Academies open, the Program will continue to extend and grow and fulfill His Highness’ vision of developing future leaders with an enhanced, pluralistic view of the world around them.
April 2018 - The Joint Education Initiative between the Aga Khan Academies and the Province of Ontario, Canada has demonstrated impact on both teachers and students since the signing of the agreement on 25 May 2015.
The Teacher Preparation Programme (TPP) is one of the Aga Khan Academies’ landmark teacher development initiatives. In this interview with Kamini Menon at the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad, TPP participant Afeera Maryam talks about the TPP’s unique aspects and her experience with the programme.
Aga Khan Academies Delegation Meets with Texas Senator Angela Paxton
Highlighting excellence in all aspects of education, State of Texas leaders met with representatives from the Aga Khan Academies, President of Council for Central USA, and Rizwan Sheikh, member of the Steering Committee for the Texas Agreement of Cooperation at Plano Jamatkhana on August 21, 2019.
Texas Senator Angela Paxton learned from Academy leaders Amyn Merchant, Resource Development & Financial Strategy Director, and Gulam Juma, Director of External Affairs-Africa, about the quality of education offered to students attending Academies in Mombasa, Kenya, Hyderabad, India, and Maputo, Mozambique.
This initiative follows the Agreement of Cooperation signed between the Ismaili Imamat and the State of Texas in 2009, intended to expand collaboration in the areas of education, health sciences, natural disaster preparedness and recovery, culture and the environment.
The Texas delegation was also joined by former Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, University of Texas System Board of Regent Christina Crain, and leadership from the University of Texas at Dallas. The group discussed ways to extend the success of the Aga Khan Academy students, and developed a roadmap for Texas and the State’s academic institutions to forge a partnership to apply human and financial resources to further the mission of the Academies. Also discussed were how to add to the intellectual diversity and global perspectives of Texas university campuses by offering scholarships to Academy graduates.
Amyn Merchant and Gulam Juma shared the advanced and International Baccalaureate curriculum taught at the Academies. Senator Paxton, whose district includes the Jamatkhana, is a teacher with 22 years of experience. She served as a member of the Senate Education Committee during Texas’ 86th legislative session held from January to June of this year.
“Everything is bigger in Texas, and our hope is that this saying will be true of the Jamat’s involvement in the State. It is a point of pride for us to be able to share the positive, forward-looking vision that Mawlana Hazar Imam has for the world, and seeks to engage the Texas Jamat and Texas leaders in fulfilling his vision,” said President Didarali. “Enhancing access to education is a key value shared by Ismailis and the State of Texas, and we are keen to see our partnership and friendship grow.”
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