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For over 100 years the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has worked to ensure that students of all ages have access to quality learning opportunities.  The Network operates programmes and institutions that span the educational ladder, from early childhood programmes to primary and secondary schools, from vocational studies for youth and adults to university degrees and continuing professional development.  Each year, the AKDN reaches 2 million learners across 16 countries.

The Aga Khan Development Network seeks to ensure that children and young people are equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to help them interact effectively with the world and be contributing members of a pluralist society.  It has five leading organisations in education that work together to promote a continuous ladder of lifelong learning, starting from early childhood and extending well into adulthood.


Early childhood development: Globally, the AKDN’s activities in early childhood development provide 750,000 children aged pre-natal-8 with quality early learning opportunities, annually.  Children are reached through the Aga Khan SchoolsAga Khan Academies, and community- and government-driven programmes supported by the Aga Khan Foundation.  Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes are concerned with ensuring that young children have a good start in life.  They address health, nutrition, care, education, and protection from harm.


Education: from Pre-school to University


Primary and secondary: Globally, the AKDN’s activities in primary and secondary education provide 1 million students aged 5-18 with increased access to quality formal and non-formal learning opportunities, annually.  The Aga Khan AcademiesAga Khan Schools, Aga Khan FoundationAga Khan University and University of Central Asia work together to strengthen the quality of countries’ educational systems.  The AKDN’s work with community-based and government-owned schools address issues of access (particularly for girls), government capacity development, school leadership, teacher transformation, child-centred learning, and community engagement to improve students’ academic and non-academic learning outcomes.

Higher education: The AKDN has been meeting critical human resource needs in developing countries since 1983 and to date has more than 14,000 alumni globally.  Two universities – the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia – provide undergraduate and graduate programmes in disciplines such as nursing, education, media and communications, engineering sciences and business management.  Across nine different university campuses, they are preparing young men and women to succeed in the global knowledge economy, to lead change in their societies and to increase understanding and respect in a pluralistic world.

Continuing education: The AKDN views continuing education as a key driver to advancing the professional and vocational skills of any workforce.  It seeks to improve the capacity and status of critical professions in our society – be that for teachers, nurses, engineers, or entrepreneurs – through a variety of ongoing opportunities for personal development such as professional short courses, certificate programmes, mentoring or communities of practice.  For instance, the University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education provides formal, university-based, non-degree educational programmes.  Since 2006, it has engaged 74,000 youth and adults in vocational and professional development courses.