Partnership for teacher preparation | Aga Khan Academies

Partnership for teacher preparation

18 October 2018

To achieve its goal of developing high quality teachers locally, the Aga Khan Academies is partnering with other institutions to access additional expertise and gain formal external recognition. One such partnership is with the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.

In May 2016, the Faculty of Education at UBC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Aga Khan Academies for collaboration on a number of activities. In the first of these collaborations, UBC is acting as an external assessor for the Academies’ Teacher Preparation Programme (TPP).

The TPP is a multi-phase programme designed by the Aga Khan Academies to train outstanding graduates from public universities to teach one or more of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes at the Academies. The TPP is the first, and so far the only, completely school-based and school-owned programme to be recognised for the IB Certificate in Teaching and Learning. It is the only such programme on the African continent.

As the programme guide states, the aim of the TPP is to train teachers to become transformative educators in their communities with the vision and skills “to provide exceptionally talented and highly motivated Academies students with a rigorous academic and leadership-development experience.” The skills the trainees gain are considered to be highly valuable in any teaching setting, thus creating the potential to raise academic standards in the variety of schools in which they might eventually teach.

Cynthia Okoth, who completed her TPP training in Mombasa in 2016 and currently teaches in the Humanities department at the Academy in Mombasa, credits the TPP for equipping her with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully teach the IB programme. “My teaching methods have become dynamic,” she says. “The TPP forced me to cultivate deep thinking skills and deep analytical skills.”

UBC is providing input into programme quality assurance and external assessment of the TPP interns’ work during their 18-month programme. UBC’s Faculty of Education is currently working with six teacher interns at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa. Each teacher intern is paired with an experienced UBC IB faculty member who has expertise or interest in their teaching subjects. Following successful completion of their portfolio, the teacher interns will be eligible to receive an IB Certificate in Teaching and Learning from the International Baccalaureate.

The collaboration between the Academies and UBC is benefiting participants on both sides of the partnership. Meredith Fenton, Director of IB programs in the Faculty of Education at UBC, says, "Such a partnership between the AKA and UBC brings the combined capabilities and expertise of both organisations to bear on improving the educational opportunities available to young people in Africa and promotes a deeper and better informed global perspective among teachers and students in British Columbia. It reflects the true spirit of international mindedness and global citizenship, two key tenets of the IB, and pluralism, so central to the work of the Academies, that we, as teacher educators and learners, aim to model and to which we aspire for the benefit of our teacher candidates and future generations of children in their care."

“We can’t have great student leaders without having great teacher leaders,” notes Director of Academies Salim Bhatia. A crucial aspect of the vision and mission of the Academies is to develop homegrown leaders, and valuable partnerships with institutions such as the International Baccalaureate and the University of British Columbia act as a catalyst to achieving that goal.