Aga Khan Academy Dhaka: Educating tomorrow’s leaders
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is establishing an educational centre of excellence, The Aga Khan Academy, in Dhaka to provide international standard education for students and prepare them for leadership roles in Bangladesh and across the world.
The Aga Khan Academy is located on a 20-acre of land in Bashundhara, which will enroll 750 students with a capacity to expand to 1,200.
The academy will start its operation here next year, said officials of AKDN.
It will be part of an integrated network of world-class schools of Aga Khan Academies offering an international standard of education to promising students from pre-primary to secondary levels, located across 14 countries, regardless of their ability to pay.
Award-winning and designed to international standards, the academy in Dhaka will be the fourth in the network of 18 Aga Khan Academies globally, joining those in Mombasa (Kenya), Hyderabad (India), and Maputo (Mozambique).
The goal of The Aga Khan Academy, Dhaka, is to develop future leaders for Bangladesh who are equipped with the skills to compete in a highly inter-connected, competitive, and globalised world.
With the first investments to help develop the country's jute mill industry, AKDN has been active in Bangladesh for nearly seven decades. Today, AKDN in Bangladesh works primarily in the education and the financial sectors.
AKDN's impact in the education sector includes the efforts of the Aga Khan Foundation in supporting capacity building amongst local organisations, including BRAC, in the areas of non-formal primary education and early childhood development.
The Aga Khan Education Service has been operating The Aga Khan School, Dhaka, for over three decades, successfully providing quality English-medium education through multiple curricula (IB and Cambridge), with graduates making a difference in Bangladesh and globally.
During a recent visit to the academy in Dhaka's Bashundhara, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Masud Bin Momen said, "The ministry looks forward to facilitating and supporting all such worthy investments specially to help educate future global Bangladeshi leaders."
AKDN's Resident Diplomatic Representative HE Munir M Merali said the academic programme offered by the academies has been developed according to the principles of the International Baccalaureate (IB). The IB provides a challenging academic environment for students and allows their achievement to be measured against international standards.
Admission is based upon merit, with financial aid available to ensure access for accepted students regardless of financial circumstances, he said.
Theodore J (TJ) Coburn, founding head of the academy in Dhaka, said global as well as local perspectives are reflected in the curriculum, and students' study in both English and Bangla languages, with a high percentage expected to graduate with a bilingual IB Diploma."
He further added that each Aga Khan Academy campus is purpose-built featuring state-of-the-art classrooms and resource areas, and extensive sports facilities. The residences provide secure and well-supervised accommodation for local and international students as well as those visiting from another Academy. As the global network of Academies develops further, both students and teachers will participate in visits and exchanges between Academies to broaden their experience and practical understanding of pluralism.
Promoting excellence in teaching, both on campus and more broadly, is a major goal of the Aga Khan Academies. Each Academy is established as a Professional Development Centre (PDC). The PDC aims at strengthening the profession of teaching in the region by providing substantial professional learning opportunities and modelling highly effective educational practice.
With all future educational activities of the AKDN in the country consolidated around the Aga Khan Academy in Dhaka, plans are underway to launch the project – and welcome the first cohort of students in July 2022, concludes Theodore J (TJ) Coburn.