The IB Extroverts

16 April 2008

During his speech made at the Inauguration Ceremony of this school, His Highness the Aga Khan underscored the important contribution the citizens of Africa can make to address what he called the somber global circumstance in which we live. He stated that “their writings and research must contribute to the edifice of knowledge; their publications, inventions, and artistic and architectural creations must be of a quality to enrich the human experience”.

This quotation was part of the opening remarks made by Zubair Kassam, Head of the AKAM English Department, as he introduced the second cohort of IB Diploma candidates before each of them presented their internal assessments to the public. “The IB Extroverts”, as they call themselves, made a remarkable presentation across the various disciplines they have studied during the last eighteen months of their course.

The richness of what the IB Diploma course has to offer was superbly demonstrated by each of the speakers. Kennedy Mbuvi boasted the first IB Diploma Mathematics Extended Essay in Africa, under the topic: “Superannuation”, answering in length a research question of only 40 words; Kirsty Bird delved into the topic, “From Artifact to Curio – the Journey of the African Mask”, under the discipline of Visual Arts.

Why would a student be taking samples of saliva from Arcea nut chewers somewhere in Old Town Mombasa? One wonders! Yet, Irfan Samji did it to establish the saliva’s Ph measure, generating scientific evidence that the habit indeed predisposed chewers to oral cancer.

Seeking another first at the Academy was Dure-Nayab Khatry: this time, with a presentation in Swahili. The ease with which she delivered her Kiswahili Extended Essay presentation underscored the IBO’s belief that, in one’s mother tongue, complicated ideas can be expressed with supreme and admirable clarity.

The ambition of the IB curriculum is to create compassionate citizens. Sheliza Ramji brought this phenomenon to fore with the depiction of what her ITGS project endeavoured to achieve; a worldwide reach for the Mwokoeni Children’s Centre through the creating and hosting of a website for the institution. The centre, one of the school’s CAS focus centres, is in a disadvantaged part of Mombasa, and offers dismally impoverished children a free education.

Good, practical advice for the aspiring IB students and next year’s candidates was not in short supply. “Make sure you complete your first World Literature assignment in the first year because you will need the whole of the second year for the second assignment…” Salsabiha Sheikh’s asserted.

Each member of the class had the opportunity to present his or her particular topics of interest, and, at the end, all received a thunderous standing ovation from the crowd. The Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, is very proud of this year’s cohort of IB graduates, and their talents and wide spectrum of interests shone through in an impressive display of intellectual curiosity and depth of knowledge.