Landmark success for AKA’s 2018 graduating classes | Aga Khan Academies

Landmark success for AKA’s 2018 graduating classes

The 2018 graduating classes from the Aga Khan Academies in both Mombasa and Hyderabad performed very well on their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma exams, outperforming their peers in similar IB school programmes globally. 

A rare perfect score

Mombasa 2018 graduates The crowning achievement was a perfect score of 45 points awarded to Saumya Gupta from the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, placing her within the top 0.3% of all IB Diploma candidates worldwide.

Kamila Janmohamed, also from AKA Mombasa, was only one point away from a perfect score, having achieved an outstanding 44 points. Other high-scoring students included Tvisha Devavarapu (Hyderabad), Freya Lalani (Hyderabad) and Navaz Alani (Mombasa), all of whom achieved an excellent score of 42 points. Overall, Academies students performed very well, with the average score for both graduating classes remaining above the global average of 29.78 points.

Bilingual diplomas

Both the Academies’ and the IB’s mission resonate in their aspirations to nurture ethical young leaders who will help create a better and more peaceful world marked by empathy and pluralism. The objective is to empower students to think and engage in an ethical, pluralistic outlook on life.

Hyderabad 2018 graduates Towards this end, the Academies implement a bilingual programme which supports the belief that proficiency in one’s mother tongue helps proficiency in all languages, as well as increases the student’s future options and affirms their sense of cultural identity. Across the Academies network, students are working towards bilingualism in a number of languages including Hindi, Telugu, Bangla, Swahili, Portuguese, Dari and Russian.

This emphasis on language is reflected in the number of Academies students who graduated this year with a bilingual diploma. A remarkable 40% of the graduating cohort from the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad received bilingual diplomas; on average, only about 23% of graduates globally achieve a bilingual diploma. Two AKA Hyderabad graduates pursued self-taught Telugu, and both received the highest grade possible. In Mombasa, 25% of students graduated with a bilingual diploma, showing a positive upward trend.

Notable results from Talent Identification cohort

Talent Identification students The Academies’ Talent Identification programme seeks out gifted students with leadership potential from marginalised backgrounds and provides them with full financial support to attend an Academy for their high school education. By enabling these talented students to receive a high-quality education that allows them to access the world’s best universities, this programme dramatically changes their opportunities and their long-term ability to help their families and communities.

The programme has been established in Mombasa for some time, and the success of the Academies’ unique selection process is being demonstrated through the students’ results. The 2018 graduates from AKA Mombasa’s Talent Identification programme performed very well, with their average score being 2 points above the already higher-than-average score for their cohort, and three out of eight of them were among those who scored 40 points and above.

University scholarships and destinations

Six of AKA Mombasa’s Talent Identification graduates were also awarded full scholarships for their university education, with students from the newer Talent Identification programme in Hyderabad also having been awarded scholarship support for their further studies.

Prudence Hainga, from Kisumu, Kenya, is one of these students. Prudence was awarded a full MasterCard Foundation scholarship to study political science at the University of Edinburgh.

"I want to realise my childhood dream of fighting injustice and corruption in Kenya...learning how political systems function and what others have done to ensure sustainable development as well as spread out opportunities for their citizens...I am motivated to use my knowledge as a weapon against discrimination and inequality and work for a better Kenya – a Kenya that feels like home to all," said Prudence.

This year’s graduating classes were collectively offered over USD 11 million in university scholarships and financial aid and were offered admission to some of the world's top universities, including Yale University, Brown University, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, University College London, King’s College London, University of Manchester, University of Edinburgh, University of Utrecht, Sciences Po and University of Melbourne. 

“Academy students have benefitted directly from [His Highness the Aga Khan’s] vision, commitment, and immense generosity,” noted Salim Bhatia, Director of Academies, when addressing the graduates.

In following His Highness’s vision, the Academies provide access to world-class primary and secondary education for talented students regardless of their socio-economic background, ethnicity, religion or gender. In doing so, they prepare students to succeed in higher education and, as home-grown leaders, to eventually support the development of their home communities and countries.

A great school, His Highness the Aga Khan has said, "will educate its students not merely to be personally successful but also to use their gifts to build their communities and enhance the common good to levels beyond our dreams.”

By Inaara Gangji and Perviz Walji