Naail Lakhani: Learner Agency Through Coding | Aga Khan Academies

Naail Lakhani: Learner Agency Through Coding

Naail Lakhani, a Year 5 student in Junior School, has demonstrated incredible maturity, leadership, and initiative since joining the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa in 2018. His proudest achievement is founding the Junior School Coding Club, an after-school extracurricular activity to teach coding to young minds. With approximately 30 members, Naail has been running the club successfully for over a year now.

Naail developed his passion for coding at the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. “One day, I decided to search up easy coding for kids, and I stumbled upon this great website called Khan Academy which taught me different programming languages like C++ and Javascript,” said Naail. “I was then approached by Ms. Nuala Alibhai, the Head of Student Support and well-being in Junior School, who knew about my interest in coding and proposed the idea of starting a club in school. I agreed, and the coding club was born.”

In addition to teaching coding skills, the club encourages its members to develop learner agency - shifting ownership of learning from teachers to students. "I believe that learner agency is important because it allows students to build their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as perseverance and adaptability," Naail said. Members of the club attain learner agency by practicing coding rather than just learning it so that they can have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and test their understanding. 

“I have been a part of the coding club since it first began, so for over a year now, and I have loved every minute of it,” says Kanika Tahiliani, a student in Year 4. “I learnt how to make shapes and add color to different objects like foods and a snowman using code.”

As Naail transitions to Senior School, he plans to continue and expand his club. By increasing the club’s capacity and opening up the club to both Junior and Senior School, Naail hopes to inspire more students to pursue coding. “My coding club is just the beginning,” said Naail. “I can already see myself working in tech companies like Google when I am older, or maybe I can even start my own company.”