Established in 1998, the Aga Khan Lycée is the first privately operated school in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). Each year, the Lycée educates over 950 students from Grades 1 to 11 with a graduation rate above 90 percent. It aims to provide students with high quality of education and prepare them for further studies at first-rate universities.
It also tests and develops new teaching and learning approaches which can serve as models of best practice for other educational institutions in Tajikistan and throughout the region. The curriculum at the Lycée is offered in three language streams – English, Tajik and Russian – in order to encourage students to develop fluency in more than one language. The curriculum focuses on interactive approaches that foster critical thinking skills while also developing creativity and problem-solving abilities. Special attention is paid to teaching the Tajik language and cultivating a knowledge and appreciation of the country’s rich history, literature and heritage. The 60 teachers currently employed at the Lycée are provided with frequent pedagogical and English language trainings, to continue their professional development. With support from the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), 11 Aga Khan Lycée educators have obtained Master’s Degrees in Education from the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) in Pakistan, while another 20 have participated in AKU-IED’s Certificate in Education programme. Outside the classroom, clubs and camps at the Lycée help students develop extra-curricular skills in areas such as theatre, dance, sports, business, English language, mathematics, media and student government. Students also benefit from a highly developed Learning Resource Centre (LRC) that includes 105 Internet-connected computers which are used to help students develop study skills, understand how to conduct academic research electronically and pursue independent learning projects. Annually, the Aga Khan Lycée hosts a Science Fair, in which more than 250 students from Grades 2 to 10 participate and present over 50 projects spanning physics, chemistry, ecology and biology. The students share their scientific findings before a jury comprising the Aga Khan Development Network agencies, international organisations, as well as representatives from government and educational institutions. Those students with the most notable and inspiring projects are recognised and awarded science-related prizes. In January 2011, a collaboration programme was initiated between the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa and the Aga Khan Lycée in Tajikistan. This pilot project identified eight Grade 6 students from the Aga Khan Lycée to attend the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa and complete the final six months of their primary education followed by six years of secondary schooling. Offering high-quality educational opportunities and accommodation, this programme will allow the Lycée’s brightest students to bring with them new experiences, knowledge and leadership skills back to their home communities. Moreover, the exchange programme frees space at the Aga Khan Lycée for additional students while providing an excellent opportunity to several highly deserving students from Khorog.