His Highness the Aga Khan: investments in education are reflected “in the formation of the kind of social conscience that our world so desperately needs”

“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

Students at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa greeting His Highness the Aga Khan on the occasion of the inauguration of the school. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte)
Students at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa greeting His Highness the Aga Khan on the occasion of the inauguration of the school. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte)

The Aga Khan Academies, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), are an integrated network of about 18 residential schools in 14 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia. They are dedicated to expanding access to the highest standard of education for exceptional young men and women, regardless of their ability to pay.

The academic programme offered by the Academies has been developed according to the principles of the widely-recognised International Baccalaureate (IB). The IB provides a challenging academic environment for students and allows their achievement to be measured against international standards. More

The first Aga Khan Academy opened in Mombasa, Kenya in 2003, the second in Hyderabad, India in 2011 and the third in Maputo, Mozambique in 2013.

His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki speaking at the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte)
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki speaking at the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte)

“The creation of broadly based scientific and intellectual communities, however, requires more than universities. Educators in the Aga Khan Development Network have worked in East Africa and South Asia for nearly a century, learning over the years in Aga Khan institutions from pre-school to university post-graduate levels, that education is a continuum. Confident attitudes to education, habits of learning, develop early in life….It is on this base of experience that I took the decision to launch a new network of academic centers of excellence, with the aim of educating young men and women up to the highest international standards from primary through higher secondary education.”
His Highness the Aga Khan
Mombasa, Kenya,
December 20, 2003. Speech at Press Centre, AKDN

An artist at the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad presents her work to His Highness the Aga Khan, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, and the Minister for Human Resources Development. (Photo: AKDN / Gary Otte)
An artist at the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad presents her work to His Highness the Aga Khan, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, and the Minister for Human Resources Development. (Photo: AKDN / Gary Otte)

“The conviction that home-grown intellectual leadership of exceptional calibre is the best driver of a society’s destiny, underpins the Ismaili Imamat’s endeavour to create catalytic centres of educational excellence.”
His Highness the Aga Khan
Maputo, Mozambique
June 25, 2004. Speech at Press Centre, AKDN


His Highness the Aga Khan’s vision of the Academies
:*
“….the best way to manage change, whether positive or negative, is to prepare for it and that there is no greater form of preparation for change than investments in education. These investments must focus, of course, on teachers of the highest quality—teachers who are creative and committed to their own life-long learning and self-improvement. It also means investments in facilities that provide an environment conducive to the less tangible but equally important elements of an education—self-esteem, leadership, tolerance, ethical judgment and moral reasoning.”
His Highness the Aga Khan
Opening Ceremony of the Aga Khan School, Osh, Kyrgyz Republic
October 30, 2002  Speech at Press Centre, AKDN

What does it mean to be educated?*
“Many have come to realise that education must prepare students not only for the job market, but also for life…..education must equip students with more than a narrowly focused curriculum based on reading, writing and mathematics. It must expose students to a broad and meaningful study of the humanities, including science, music and art.

“Education must include mastery of more than one language and an ability to communicate effectively in those languages. In the face of the most rapid advances in technology in history, education also must teach students how to master information technologies.”

(Photo: AKDN)
(Photo: AKDN)

Preparing Children for Life*
“An education must equip students with the tools that enable them to adapt and thrive, in a world characterised by change. 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.”

A Pluralistic Outlook*
“Education must also make the case for a pluralistic tradition in which other views, ethnicities, religions and perspectives are valued not only because that is just and good, but also because pluralism is the climate best suited for creativity, curiosity and inquiry to thrive.

The Most Important Measure of an Education*
“What students know is therefore no longer the most important measure of an education. The true test is the ability of students and graduates to engage with what they do not know and to work out a solution. They must also be able to reach conclusions that constitute the basis for informed judgements. The ability to make judgements that are grounded in solid information and employ careful analysis, should be one of the most important goals for any educational endeavour.

“For all these reasons, there is no better investment that individuals, parents and the nation can make than an investment in education of the highest possible quality. Such investments are reflected and endure, in the formation of the kind of social conscience that our world so desperately needs.”
His Highness the Aga Khan
Opening Ceremony of the Aga Khan School, Osh, Kyrgyz Republic
October 30, 2002  Speech at Press Centre, AKDN

About the AKDN
The AKDN, chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan, has a long history of involvement in education in countries of the developing world, with the first schools having been founded in 1905 in India and Zanzibar. Currently, AKDN agencies operate more than 240 schools and educational programmes ranging from early childhood through to post-graduate education.  More

Visit Introduction to Aga Khan Academies to learn more about them.
View the map of the operating and planned Academies worldwide.
AKDN’s education partners include International Baccalaureate, Phillips Academy Andover, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, University of Calgary, University of Toronto, Oxford University, Schule Schloss Salem, University of Central Asia, Aga Khan University.

Visit About the IB to learn more about the programme.

*Reprinted from About the Academies

Compiled by Nimira Dewji

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