that prepares children for life must go beyond fundamental
skills to stimulate creativity, intellectual
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Introduction to the Aga Khan Academies
The conviction that home-grown intellectual leadership of exceptional calibre is the best driver of society’s future development, and that many developing-country education systems are too engulfed by poverty and numbers to develop their talented young people, led His Highness the Aga Khan to found a network of catalytic centres of educational excellence around the world, known as the Aga Khan Academies.
To be located in
countries in Africa, South and Central Asia, and
the Middle East, the Aga Khan Academies will be an
integrated network of 18 residential schools offering
girls and boys an international standard of education
from pre-primary to secondary levels with a rigorous
academic and leadership experience. The Academies
will select students of promise, good character and
serious intent, regardless of a family’s
ability to pay. The Academies will identify and develop
teachers of the highest quality who are committed
to the all-round development of young people and
to their own professional growth as teachers. In
turn, these teachers, utilising the capacity provided
at each Academy, will offer their expertise for the
professional development of educators from neighbouring
government, private and not-for-profit schools. The
Academies are committed to excellence in every way,
not least in the creation of spacious and attractive
campuses that provide rich opportunities for students
and teachers to interact. The first Aga Khan Academy
opened in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2003.
Find out more on the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa
The academic programme is intended to foster an ethical and public-minded approach. It is designed to enhance students’ academic excellence, their sense of civic responsibility, their understanding of global issues, and their analytical and study skills. The programme reflects an understanding of and great sensitivity to the local languages, history, cultures and environment.
“An education must equip students with the tools that enable them to adapt and thrive in a world characterised by change,” His Highness the Aga Khan has said. “In such an environment, technical proficiency is not enough. Education that prepares children for life must go beyond fundamental skills to stimulate creativity, intellectual curiosity and honest inquiry. Advancement and development, both personal and societal, are dependant on these elements. Innovation and progress arise from the ability to approach a challenge in a new way and offer a solution.”
The Aga Khan Academies’ education is built on the framework of the internationally recognised International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) programmes. The IB is renowned for preparing students for admission to the best universities in their own countries and abroad. Enhanced by academic, co-curricular activities, and opportunities for international study unique to the Academies, this educational programme will play an important part in fulfilling His Highness the Aga Khan’s hope that these schools will stimulate creativity and intellectual curiosity so that students can adapt and thrive in a world of rapid change, make informed judgments on life’s daily challenges, and place those judgments in an ethical framework.
The resources and linkages of the Aga Khan Development Network play an important part in the realisation and impact the Academies, its teachers and its graduates will make. They benefit from the intellectual and programmatic resources at agencies such as the Aga Khan Foundation, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia, including their Institutes of Educational Development. The Academies draw upon long-standing partnerships with universities such as Harvard, Oxford and Toronto, as well as renowned college preparatory schools such as Phillips Academy, Andover, in the USA and Shule Schloss, Salem, in Germany to achieve its standard of excellence.
Time and again, His Highness the Aga Khan has underlined the importance of three concepts he sees as essential to creating, stabilising and strengthening democracies around the world - meritocracy, pluralism, and civil society. These are all values the network of Academies strives to instill in its students - values they will embody and carry with them throughout their lives.
Every aspect of the school’s environment and curriculum will influence these values. Students will benefit from the experience of a pluralistic learning community, enabling them to embrace diversity and become true citizens of the world, generous and tolerant towards other cultures and traditions. The Academies will engrain the qualities of meritocracy and develop ethical leaders who will go on to build and lead the institutions of civil society in their countries and across the world.