Impact & Relevance: Aga Khan Academies (AKA) – Ethical, Effective, Pluralistic

The Aga Khan Academies (AKA) developing ethical leaders

“For much of human history, leaders were born into their roles, or they fought their way in – or they bought their way in… But social progress can be greatest when aristocracies of class give way to aristocracies of talent – or to use an even better term – to meritocracies. The well-led society of the future, in my view, will be a meritocracy – where leadership roles are based on personal and intellectual excellence.

Our goal, then, is not to provide special education for a privileged elite — but to provide an exceptional education for the truly exceptional.”

– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims
Foundation Stone-Laying Ceremony of  AKA Hyderabad, India, September 22nd, 2006

The Aga Khan Academies – Global Network

In 2000, His Highness the Aga Khan initiated the establishment of the Aga Khan Academies, an integrated network of schools to be located in countries across Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East – a global learning community of about 18 schools in 14 countries. They will eventually serve approximately 14,000 girls and boys of exceptional calibre, graduating 1,500 students annually.

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.

Aga Khan Academies (AKA) a global network of schools that produces future leaders, who are ethical, effective and pluralistic.

“We live in a time of rapid change—change that is often unpredictable and not always positive. My experience with development, as an observer and a practitioner, has led me to the conclusion that 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.

Many have come to realise that education must prepare students not only for the job market, but also 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.”

Aga Khan Academy at Hyderabad formally launched

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. It must also stimulate students to consider a variety of perspectives on some of the fundamental questions posed by the human condition: ‘What is truth?’ ‘What is reality?’ and ‘What are my duties to my fellow man, to my country and to God?’ At the same time, education must reinforce the foundations of identity in such a way as to reinvigorate and strengthen them so that they can withstand the shock of change.

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. As students develop this capability, they can begin to grapple with the most important and difficult step: to learn to place such judgements in an ethical framework.

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 Prince Karim Aga Khan
49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims

Discover, Explore and Learn more at Aga Khan Academies

Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali

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