Daniel Tende: In Search of the Very Best | Aga Khan Academies

Daniel Tende: In Search of the Very Best

Daniel has observed phenomenal changes in his children since they started coming to the Academy. "Overall, it's the best education system I have seen."

When Daniel Tende heard about the Aga Khan Academy, he was immediately intrigued. A father of three, his top priority had always been to make the best education available to his children.

Today, with three of his children at the Academy - Delilah, grade 1; Cecilia, grade 6; and Shallet, grade 7 - Daniel proudly talks about the journey that brought his children there. "Some of my friends told me about the Academy and how great it is," says Daniel. That piqued his interest and he initiated contact with the Academy officials. He was invited to a meeting and given a tour of the facilities. He went back home thoroughly impressed by what he had seen and observed. "I immediately knew that the education offered at the Academy was far more advanced than I had imagined," says Daniel. "The school looked and functioned more like a university than a regular school."

Being a cautious father, Daniel decided to pay another visit to the school on his own. This time, he was touched by the interaction he observed between teachers and students and decided to fill out applications for all of his children. They were interviewed and soon accepted. In fall of 2008, they started going to the Academy.

"A parental worry I harbour is that Shallet and Cecilia have entered the system a bit late," says Daniel. For the youngest child, Delilah, who graduated from the Aga Khan Nursery, the transition was seamless. "The first week at the Academy was scary for my older children," says Daniel, "but with the support of the teachers and the great learning environment, they have found their place at the school and are proud to be at the Academy."

Daniel realized that he had no reason to worry anymore when Shallet came to him one evening and described how they are encouraged to express themselves freely in the classroom and participate openly in group discussions. "Dad, I wish you had done this sooner," he said. Daniel recalls how his daughter, Cecilia, used to be afraid of computers. "Not anymore," laughs Daniel. "Some of the homework she gets requires the use of internet and she particularly enjoys it."

Daniel is grateful for the support offered by the teachers at the Academy and is impressed by the constant parent, teacher, and child interaction. "The first day we came, they sat us down and identified areas that the children might need assistance in." He was surprised to learn that if a certain deficiency was observed, there was a system of one-on-one coaching to encourage and facilitate improvement.

Daniel has observed phenomenal changes in his children since they started coming to the Academy. "They interact easily with others and their English has significantly improved. Before, they would only converse in Swahili at home. They are more confident now and move freely. Overall, it’s the best education system I have seen."