Teacher Secondment Programme Gets Underway at AKA Mombasa | Aga Khan Academies

Teacher Secondment Programme Gets Underway at AKA Mombasa

With the first two Canadian teachers beginning their education responsibilities at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, the teacher secondment programme offered in partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Aga Khan Academies network of schools has been officially launched.

The Aga Khan and Premier Wynne sign the agreement of cooperationThis initial phase of implementation demonstrates the Academies’ commitment to transforming the role of teaching and lifting its status as a profession in the developing world, as His Highness the Aga Khan pledged at last year's signing ceremony at which Premier Kathleen Wynne of the Province of Ontario, Canada was present.
At the signing event, His Highness, an eloquent voice for setting a distinctive standard for excellence in education in the developing world, spoke of his vision and of this partnership as an “investment” in the profession of teaching.
“In investing in [this] partnership, we are investing in a profession which is critical for the development of a quality civil society in the third world…I would ask you to think of this not only in terms of what we will be able to achieve…but in a much wider context of the teaching profession and its position in the developing world.”

Teacher Andrew Jones works with students at the AcademyOne of the overall goals of the partnership is to work together on mutually beneficial education initiatives. Under this collaboration, experienced Ontario teachers will spend one to three years at an Aga Khan Academy to help build outstanding teaching and learning practice. They, in turn, will enrich their own professional practice and develop new leadership skills by gaining first-hand experience in a different cultural and geographical setting.
The first two Ontario teachers, Andrew Jones and Christine Robertson, arrived in Mombasa full of hope and promise, eager to teach and eager to learn. Both the teachers are seasoned educators with many years of experience in the teaching profession in Canada.

Christine Robertson“This would be a chance to work with both students and teachers; a great opportunity for learning, as well as for sharing from my own experience and training,” Christine said after arriving in Mombasa. “I can collaborate with colleagues here to exchange teaching ideas, to engage in ways that can contribute to the evolution of the Aga Khan Academies PYP [Primary Years Programme], and to enhance and strengthen my own teaching practices in such a way that I can support teacher and curriculum development in Ontario.”

Andrew JonesAndrew, who has had diverse experience teaching in different cultural contexts, appreciates the way his time at the Academy will allow him to continue developing in his field. “I [am] expecting an enriching experience that will allow me to learn about another culture by being immersed in it. I expect to grow as an educator because different settings, both culturally and through the IB [International Baccalaureate] programme, will allow me to expand my skill set as to how best practices support student learning. I am looking forward to collaborating and growing as educators together with my new colleagues in the Junior School.”
The expertise they will provide in strengthening key areas of education will benefit not only the Academies but also surrounding local schools.
“The secondment programme will allow for collaboration between teachers at the Academies and experienced educators from Ontario in order to facilitate an exchange of teaching practices and sharing of unique experiences,” reflects Bill O’Hearn, Head of AKA Mombasa. “In the future, this could benefit the wider teaching community because of Academy outreach efforts.”

Christine observes a class at the AcademyThe heart of the secondment programme also carries within it a sense of destiny for Academy students to become ethical and pluralistic leaders who will help strengthen their communities and build future civil societies. Recognising the importance of the role of pluralism in the world and the emphasis placed on it both by the Aga Khan Academies and the Canadian Government, Premier Wynne, in her remarks at the signing ceremony stated, “It is important for the world that we have a better understanding of how pluralism can work, and I think the language in the agreement is exploring how we can encourage a disposition towards pluralism.”
In an additional feature of the agreement, the Government of Ontario will offer financial support to economically disadvantaged students to enable them to attend Ontario universities, which are amongst the best in the world.
By Perviz Walji, with Sarra Sheikh

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