The Aga Khan Academy Dhaka: Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders | Aga Khan Academies

The Aga Khan Academy Dhaka: Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders

18 June 2021

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is establishing an educational Centre of Excellence – The Aga Khan Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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.

AKDN has been active in Bangladesh for nearly seven decades, with the first investments to help develop the country’s jute mill industry. Building on an earlier protocol signed in 1993, bilateral relations between AKDN and the Government of Bangladesh were enhanced with the signing of a Protocol of Cooperation in 2013. 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 our graduates making a difference in Bangladesh and globally.

During the recent visit of the Honourable Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, HE Mr. Masud Bin Momen, to the Academy campus in Dhaka, he remarked, “The investments made by AKDN in the country and the establishment of this landmark project in Dhaka is in part a result of the cordial bilateral relations between the AKDN and the Government of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh.” He added, “The Ministry looks forward to facilitating and supporting all such worthy investments specially to help educate future global Bangladeshi leaders.”

“Education remains a key area of interest for the Network in Bangladesh,” the AKDN’s Resident Diplomatic Representative, HE Munir M Merali responded, acknowledging the support of the government. “With around 40 million young students in the primary and secondary education system, the quality of education and teaching is most important. For this and other reasons, AKDN is committed to helping improve the education sector by developing models of excellence in education, such as the Aga Khan Academy.”

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.

Mr. Theodore J (TJ) Coburn, the Founding Head of the Academy in Dhaka, noted, “In addition to providing a rigorous academic and leadership experience, the Academies help students develop ethical and pluralistic behaviours through community engagement and service. They also recognise that to become effective leaders, students must be both globally minded and locally rooted. 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.”

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.