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Linkages between AKES school systems in Eastern Africa and South Asia and, more recently, Central Asia, have allowed teachers and students in each region to benefit from the experiences of others. School improvement programmes, teacher-training programmes, curriculum development and even school design projects piloted in one country have frequently been adapted to others.
Reaching out to schools and teachers everywhere it operates, AKES continues to work to share expertise and good practices. At the centre of this network is the Institute for Educational Development (IED) at the Aga Khan University (AKU).
IED grew out of recommendations made by a task force that reviewed AKES’s teacher training and school improvement programmes in the late 1980s. IED was established in 1993 in Karachi. Formed in partnership with the Universities of Oxford and Toronto and the European Union, the IED upgrades in-service teachers while it forms a new generation of educators: teacher trainers who have combined practical experience with postgraduate research in the theory and practice of teaching and managers trained in the administration of educational institutions.
The IED also operates through Professional Development Centres on independent campuses. Besides those in Karachi Gilgit and Chitral, Centres are planned for East Africa and Central Asia. Other collaborative approaches are envisaged between AKES and AKU for its development of a Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Karachi, as well as between AKES and the University of Central Asia.
International Academic Partnership
Bridging cultural, linguistic and pedagogical divides, the International Academic Partnership (IAP) between AKES, Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, the Schule Schloss Salem in Salem, Germany and AKU-IED permits an innovative variety of mutually enriching exchanges amongst these institutions. Exchanges of teachers, enhanced library systems and teaching of science and mathematics in the AKES school system aside, the IAP has been able to bring AKES experience into the development of a Global Economics Curriculum, an Islamic Cultural Studies Curriculum at Phillips Academy and an African Studies Institute, as well as the launch of a Global Learning Network. The Network links classrooms across the world so that students and teachers can understand and share their own and each other’s cultures.
Find out more about the International Academic Partnership
Bringing together its experiences in a variety of environments, AKES seeks to be both a useful resource and a helpful dialogue partner for public and private providers of education. Government departments in several of the countries where AKES operates are able to benefit from its knowledge and human resource base. An example of such collaboration is the Islamic Cultural Studies programme being developed jointly by the IAP, various AKDN agencies and the University of Texas.
Drawing upon its historical links with the Ismaili community, AKES, through its relationships with Aga Khan Education Boards in Europe and North America, is able to attract qualified human resources in the West who can contribute towards its activities in the developing world. The Boards, in a similar way, have been able to adapt and enrich AKES’s experiences in early childhood and secondary education by developing culturally sensitive programmes in parental involvement and career counselling. In Canada, for example, the Board operates an academic summer programme which provides mathematics and English or French language instruction to children of new immigrants to enable them rapidly to achieve the proficiency required by the school system. EduOnline is an Internet-based programme administered by the Board in the USA that helps secondary school students find and use the best educational resources to enable them to prepare for university entrance. It supplements I-STAR, a motivational programme to promote academic and extra-curricular excellence and PIAR [Positive Informed Active Regular (parenting)] a parental support programme with the same objective.