Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) currently operates over 200 schools and advanced educational programmes that provide quality
pre-school, primary, secondary, and higher secondary education services
to students in Pakistan, India,
the Kyrgyz Republic, Uganda,
Tanzania, and Tajikistan.
Early childhood lays critical foundations for a person’s entire life – a finding demonstrated not only by the latest advanced research in neuroscience and genetics but by nutrition and child development studies and programme evaluation data, including data from AKDN’s own programmes. Investments in Early Childhood Development (ECD) therefore offer outstanding returns, in both human and financial terms. The following paper explores approaches to ECD and the work of several AKDN agencies in this field. More
The Ismaili Imamat has a long tradition of leadership in educational development. The foundations of the present system were laid by Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, III, who established over 200 schools during the first half of the 20th century, the first in 1909 in Mundra and Gwadur in India and another in Zanzibar, followed by more schools in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, India, Pakistan and Syria (a number of schools were subsequently nationalised following independence). Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah also supported the development of institutions of higher education in India, and North and East Africa.
Today, the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) is one of six agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) supporting activities in the field of education. The other five are the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), the Aga Khan University, the University of Central Asia, the Aga Khan Academies and the The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
AKES currently operates over 200 schools and advanced educational programmes that provide quality pre-school, primary, secondary, and higher secondary education services to more than 50,000 students in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Tajikistan. AKES is also developing new schools in Kyrgyzstan and Madagascar and studying the feasibility of services and facilities in Mozambique.
Programmes to improve educational quality have been built into the AKES system since the early-1980s. Field-based teacher training was launched in Pakistan's Northern Areas in 1983. School improvement experiments began at the same time in Sindh province in Pakistan, where AKES introduced child-centred teaching methods, and in Tanzania, where new techniques for secondary school teaching in English, mathematics, and science were implemented in Dar es Salaam. AKES, Kenya has been the Development Network pioneer in the use of computers in the classroom, while many Network initiatives in pre-school education began in AKES, India.
Supported by the Aga Khan Foundation, some of these experiments have been carried out in government schools as well as AKES institutions, thereby contributing to the improvement of education in the countries in which AKES operates. With both the national service companies and the Aga Khan Foundation acting as relays, this body of experience in teacher development and school improvement is having an impact throughout the Network. The Institute for Educational Development of the Aga Khan University was created to provide a permanent institutional base that can sustain these and other initiatives in education.