Celebrating Our Young Scholars | Aga Khan Academies

Celebrating Our Young Scholars

10 April 2017

The Central theme of this year's PYP Exhibition"We can help make a positive difference by taking action on the issues that we care about"On Thursday 06 and Friday 07 of April 2017, Year 5 students celebrated the culmination of their Primary Years Programme (PYP) journey with their families, teachers, fellow students and AKA Mombasa community members. The flagship event showcased the incredible journey of the Year 5 students as they undertook the tough, yet highly rewarding task of taking charge of their own learning (with the guidance of their teachers) to make a difference in their communities on issues they care passionately about. 

We talked to Ms Salima Nanji (Year 5 Teacher and event co-organizer) as well as Mrs Khona Bhattacharjee (Vice Principal, Junior School and PYP Coordinator) who share their views and experiences regarding the PYP Exhibition.

Year 5 students perform "Man in the Mirror" at the opening ceremony Year 5 students perform "Man in the Mirror" at the opening ceremonyWhat is the PYP Exhibition?

“It is a culminating experience for a PYP student. Throughout the 5 years of the rigorous PYP programme, students develop the skills and attitude of a life-long learner and cultivate the habit of inquiry to know various issues that are of local and global significance.  In our school, students also explore these through the rich curricular strands of Ethics, Pluralism, Governance and Civil Society, Economics for Development and Culture.” (Mrs Bhattacharjee)

Ayaan Allahrakhia explains his project about care for the elderly Ayaan Allahrakhia explains his project about care for the elderlyWhat is the process like?

"A central part of the Exhibition is that students identify appropriate action and reflect on the action taken which must be sustainable. Effective action does not need to be grandiose. It begins in a small way and arises from genuine concern and commitment. It begins at the most immediate and basic level; with the self, within family, within classroom, playground. It is intended that the students will grow from the experience, and that the process of taking action will contribute to each student establishing their personal set of values.” (Ms Nanji)

Ayaan's model of a day-care centre for the elderly  Ayaan's model of a day-care centre for the elderlyWhat is the role of the mentors?

“Mentors guide them by asking right kind of questions to provoke their thinking. They help them with advice and critique their work so that students are able to make progress. They spend 2-3 hours every week with their mentees to support them in their learning.” (Mrs Bhattacharjee)

“The mentors also give advice on finding and using resources such as help with the selection of primary resources which includes interview, organizing field trips, surveys and secondary resources which includes  websites, books, newspapers, journals. Mentors also make sure that students do not go off track.” (Ms Nanji) 

Safraz's exhibition about anger management (drawing by Iman Cochu)What are the most important skills that students take away from the PYP Exhibition?

“Collaboration is at the heart of the PYP. The students collaborate and exercise team work and cooperation throughout the process. Students take responsibility within their groups, respect each other, cooperate in a group, share and take turns. They also resolve any conflict they may arise by listening to others and being fair. The students learn to self-manage and meet deadlines. Additionally, they learn resilience; the exhibition is a challenging process,but they learn how to persevere and learn from their failures. Lastly, students are encouraged to believe that they are capable of making a difference and initiating action." (Ms Nanji)

Safraz's exhibition about anger management (drawing by Iman Cochu)

“Students showing their ability to learn is the best part of it for me. They develop a pluralistic outlook by collaborating with various groups of people and understand the needs in their community, which make them better citizens and critical thinkers who can make ethical, informed choices.” (Mrs Bhattacharjee)

Examples of Projects

The Exhibition had some great examples of service through action while showcasing the students' talents and passions. For example, Ayaan Allarakhia's project about care for the elderly, inspired by his love of his grandmothers, aimed at giving time, love and support to the elderly in Mombasa. Or Safraz Issa's project about teaching others to manage their anger after having dealt with the issue himself. And that barely scratches the surface! We hope the students carry on with their meaningful work even as they transition into the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and into the future.

By Aleesha Suleman