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Aga Khan Education Services operate both rural and urban schools in a variety of 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)
AKES’s involvement in the region, beginning in 1995, responded to the aftermath of civil conflict in Tajikistan and to the need to rebuild Central Asian education systems following the demise of the Soviet Union. Political and economic misfortunes had temporarily disabled sophisticated educational systems. In 2003, a further challenge presented itself when the AKDN made a commitment to contribute significantly to the reconstruction of civil society in Afghanistan.
In Central Asia, AKES is presented with highly literate, educated societies. Enabling them to adjust to the region’s future needs is a key premise of AKES’s approach in Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
An assessment made while Tajikistan was still in political upheaval highlighted certain immediate needs, but also the tremendous potential that strategic educational interventions could mean for economic, political and social stability. Tajikistan needed to be connected to the world economy. Its decision-makers and its citizens needed to learn how the market economy worked and to be able to communicate successfully with the rest of the world.
At the same time, an appreciation of the advantages of a multicultural citizenry had to be reinforced in the minds of its own citizens. A series of initiatives launched by the Aga Khan during his visit to Central Asia in 1995 form the basis of AKES’s work in promoting pluralism and providing education in the region.
English Language and Economics Programmes
The Aga Khan Education Fund worked to strengthen national human resources in the English Language and Market Economics. Faculty from institutions of higher education in Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic were provided with instruction and materials to enable universities and secondary schools in both countries to teaching of the two subjects. Courses for selected faculty were especially designed at Durham University, England for instructors of the English Language and at the London School of Economics for teachers of Economics. Teaching materials developed by the group as part of their course are being used in their home universities.
In the final phase of the Economics programme, AKES organised instruction in Entrepreneurship and Management. In the case of the English Language programme, the materials provided to the participating institutions have been supplemented by modern, computer-based language laboratories supplied by AKES and installed in five institutions (Tajik State Pedagogical University, Dushanbe, Kulob State University, Kulob, Khorog State University, Khorog, Khujand State University, Khujand and Osh State University, Osh).
Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia
A third component of the Education Fund is now being administered by the University of Central Asia. The Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia is involving scholars from countries in the region in an effort to develop curricula that will incorporate languages, literature and art of various Central Asian cultures. The initiative is intended to increase and deepen understanding of these cultures within a country's own culture as well as in neighbouring societies, but also to heighten awareness of these cultures outside Central Asia. Embodying a comparative perspective, the Project orients students to cultural pluralism and the foundations of civil society in a variety of cultures. It was premised on the notion that one measure of the cultural resilience of a people is their ability to recognise greatness in other cultures. Such perspectives have begun to help students address current challenges, predicaments and opportunities and build bridges across communal boundaries in the region.
Aga Khan Lycée, Khorog and Aga Khan School, Osh
AKES is also involved directly in the provision of education services in the region. AKDN’s early interventions, in supplying urgently needed materials for schools in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of Tajikistan and subsequent survey of the school systems in the region, led AKES to launch projects to establish two schools of high quality, one in Khorog in Tajikistan and one in Osh in the Kyrgyz Republic. The Aga Khan Lycée in Khorog is the result of a major rehabilitation of existing school premises. The Aga Khan School, Osh is a custom-designed complex catering to students at the secondary and higher secondary levels. The introduction of information technology, the upgrading of language studies and the enhancement of library, laboratory and gymnasium facilities are some of the initial steps, along with teacher development programmes, that have been implemented at both schools.
Teachers from Khorog and Osh have been trained at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development to prepare for staff and curriculum development initiatives at these schools. In collaboration with other AKDN agencies, AKES has begun its interventions in Afghanistan by providing technical support and assistance in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of schools in Baghlan and Bamiyan provinces and in Kabul. It has also begun to develop teacher development programmes and will establish a series of early childhood development centres, as well as primary and secondary schools in some key areas across the country. AKES has also been facilitating the provision of programmes in English language and computer literacy.