Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) currently operates more than 200 schools and advanced educational programmes that provide quality pre-school, primary, secondary, and higher secondary education services to students in East Africa, South Asia and Central Asia.
The PESLE programme impacts the quality of school education available to poor and disadvantaged communities by addressing three key issues: enrollment, retention and learning, and achievment.AKES schools are the bedrock of AKDN's work in education in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Some of the schools date from the turn of last century; many were established in the 1950s and 1960s. In all three countries, AKES operates as a not-for-profit agency and the services it provides are often subsidised. AKES works through national service companies in each of the East African countries and cooperates with government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and national and international universities.
Cooperating with these partners enables AKES to participate in current educational issues, and in so doing, to assess continually and, where necessary, adapt to changing trends in education. AKES in East Africa also benefits from its association with AKES country networks in South and Central Asia. Models of education that have proved successful in one region are modified and replicated in other regions, thus creating a unique educational system based on universally shared expertise. Currently, AKES operates some 19 schools of high quality in East Africa, catering to some 9,100 students and employing about 600 teachers.
Several of the academic institutions of AKES in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh date back to the 19th Century. A major initiative was taken to establish schools during the diamond jubilee of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, notably for girls in the Northern Areas of Pakistan and in Mumbai, India. There are over 200 schools in South Asia. These schools have an enrolment of about 48,000 students and employ some 2,200 teachers. Through their outreach activities, the AKES in these countries support many more students.
A significant proportion of students impacted by AKES in this region is from the rural areas. A great majority of them are females. Strong efforts are made not only to continue to improve the quality of education in some of the remotest parts of the world, but also to develop curricula that are compatible with the needs of the rural communities.
AKES operates two model schools in the region, one in Khorog, the capital of Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan, and the other in Osh in the neighbouring Kyrgyz Republic. These schools serve as regional centres of excellence. AKES' outreach efforts also impact the district schools within Gorno-Badakhshan, and plans are being developed to help schools within the southern areas of Kyrgyz Republic.
A more recent development is AKES' involvement in Afghanistan. Currently, it works in selected districts, including Kabul, to develop skills in English Language and Information Technology, especially for out-of-school children to develop employable skills. It also assists school-going children with tutorial assistance programmes to enable them to catch up with normal school work at different grade levels.
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