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Aga Khan Education Services operate both rural and urban schools in a variety of South Asian contexts. Historically, it has worked to expand access to affordable quality education, to adapt to local circumstances and to anticipate future needs. Find out more on Aga Khan Education Services (AKES)
Two of the oldest existing schools in the AKES system, Aga Khan School, Mundra (India) and Aga Khan School, Gwadar (Pakistan) were founded in 1905. Community-based literacy centres for girls in villages scattered across the remote Karakorum Mountains of Northern Pakistan in the late 1940s, have since become a series of primary, secondary and higher secondary schools. Across Pakistan’s Sindh Province, AKES has introduced programmes to upgrade curricula and improve the quality of teaching, in addition to establishing schools in rural Sindh, Hyderabad and Karachi. Together, these institutions and a major complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, form the core of South Asia’s largest private education network.
Education Resource Centres
Whether established anew or integrated into its network over years, AKES's urban schools in Andhra Pradesh and in Mumbai have benefited from School Improvement Programmes. Education Resource Centres at the four urban schools (two in Mumbai and one each in Hyderabad and Warangal) and the three rural schools (Sidhpur, Chitravad and Mundra) have been created. The aim, as it is in School Improvement Programmes applied in East Africa, is to broaden the reach of new methodologies and teacher education to local government agencies, non-governmental organisations and other schools. Technologies and methods applied at these centres also inform the planning of new AKES schools that are envisaged for areas of great need: North Mumbai, Vapi and Surat.
Education For Girls
Embodying a distinctive tradition of philanthropy and education, the Diamond Jubilee Schools were established for girls across Pakistan’s Northern Areas, and in Mumbai (India). and the Chitral District of its Northwest Frontier Province. Generous contributions from the Ismaili community were offered in commemoration, in 1946, of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah’s sixty years as Imam. Initially created as literacy centres, Diamond Jubilee Schools have now grown to be leaders in their region.
During the 1980s schools for girls were established in the Chitral District of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. During these years. Since the 1980s, rural schools in the north of Pakistan have been housed in new physical premises built under a self-help School Construction Programme launched by AKES, Aga Khan Planning and Building Services and the Aga Khan Foundation. Special construction features include earthquake-resistant design. The Self-help School Construction Programme is used extensively used by schools all across northern Pakistan.
Field-Based Teacher Development Programmes were instrumental in preparing teachers without formal education for government certification and the opening of two role model secondary schools for girls (the Aga Khan School, Sherqilla (in 1983) and the Aga Khan School, Karimabad (in 1986). These schools and the Field-Based Teacher Development Programme helped support the academic standards of female education across the AKES system in the region.
Parallel to the growth of schools in the Northern Areas during the last two decades of the twentieth century, AKES schools in Pakistan’s Sindh Province have undergone significant physical and academic revitalisation. School complexes in the Kharadhar, Garden and Karimabad areas of Karachi (established as early as the 1930s) and in Hyderabad were nationalised in 1972. Denationalisation of the Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan School, Karimabad the following year and of the Aga Khan School, Garden and the Aga Khan Schools in Kharadhar and Hyderabad, twelve years later, gave occasion for extensive renewal. Training and career opportunities were introduced for teachers. New academic and governance structures were established. School Improvement Programmes drew the Sindh campuses together into a single system where each shares the expertise it has built up in specific disciplines.
In 1994, the Aga Khan University established the first Professional Development Centre of its Institute for Educational Development on the campus of the Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan School. Its purpose is to provide in-service teacher training and opportunities for research. The School has also, since 1995, become the first of AKES’s Pakistan schools to offer higher secondary education. Since then, similarly, the Aga Khan School in Karimabad, the Aga Khan School in Gilgit and the newly-established Aga Khan School in Gahkuch have become the first private schools to offer higher secondary education. Higher secondary schools for girls and boys have also been added in Chitral. An Aga Khan School and support for professional development activities are in planning for Punjab and an Aga Khan Academy is planned for Karachi.
Over nearly half a century, AKES’s school network in Pakistan has expanded through the opening of new schools but also by absorbing private facilities operated by philanthropic trusts established outside the AKES context by Ismaili individuals and families. Amongst the facilities that will benefit from this expansion are student residences to accommodate students who, without such lodging, would not have access to schools, particularly in rural environments. By creating environments conducive to learning and engendering tutorial discipline in a collegiate setting, these hostels also enhance the quality of the student’s educational experience. In Pakistan, too, AKES includes student residences amongst its facilities; the Aga Khan School, Karimabad being the first in the Northern Areas, followed by others in Booni, Chitral and Hyderabad. AKESP also provides technical assistance to nearly 200 community-based schools across Pakistan.
View the Aga Khan Schools in Pakistan
Nearly twenty day-care centres in rural Gujarat have been working since 1982 to improve learning about life skills, better health, nutrition and basic skills. The approach, usually involving mothers, emphasizes the role of the family in early childhood education. In areas where primary schools are not of a quality comparable to the day-care centres, "graduates” from these centres sustain their “head start” at after-school classes organised by AKES’s Rural Primary Education Programme.
One of the oldest schools of the network, the Aga Khan School, Mundra (Gujarat) has been rebuilt after the original building was destroyed in an earthquake, and is well-poised to offer English-medium education. It has plans to convert from the present State curriculum to the national ICSE curriculum. The Diamond Jubilee School for Boys in Mumbai has now been relocated to a brand new school and is now called the Diamond Jubilee High School, offering the ICSE curriculum. AKESI also operates high schools in Hyderabad, Warangal, Adilabad and Gadhchiroli, all in Andhra Pradesh, as well as in Sidhpur and Chitravad in Gujarat.
View the Aga Khan Schools in India
AKES’s initiatives in both India and Pakistan have been invaluable in the development of the Aga Khan School in Dhaka. The AKES in Bangladesh is now implementing a longer-term expansion plan. Starting in 1988 with the secondary and higher secondary levels - where the need appeared to be greatest - the School, which caters to boys and girls, has initiated pre-primary and primary sections since early 1999. AKES, Bangladesh, which was incorporated in 1993, has plans to relocate to a site for a custom-built modern complex. The Aga Khan School, Dhaka has recently been authorized to be an IB World School. It offers the PYP curriculum at its primary school, and is in the process of introducing the IB Diploma Programme at the higher secondary level and the MYP at the secondary level.