East Africa: First Model Teachers' Academy Opens in East Africa 

Nairobi — A teachers' excellence training academy, the first one of its kind in East Africa, has today, September 23, 2020, opened its doors, thanks to the Aga Khan University (AKU).

The Teachers' Academy is set to bring a new experience in teaching in higher education. It will be Aga Khan University's first interdisciplinary academies of its kind in the region.

"Rewarding and recognising teachers promotes excellence in teaching, teaching that engages students in their own learning, in pursuing creative work and innovative ideas, in reaching their full potential," said Vice Provost Dr Tashmin Khamis.

Dr Khamis said teaching excellence prepares students to be future leaders in respective communities as a dictate of the rapidly changing environment.

"The Academy will develop a community of faculty recognised for teaching excellence, who will be able to promote teaching, and inspire and mentor their peers. It will be developed on the foundation of outstanding AKU teachers, who are recognised for their contribution to teaching and learning in higher education, including those who have benchmarked their practice internationally and attained the UK's Higher Education Academy Fellowship."

Her remarks were reinforced by AKU President Firoz Rasul who noted that AKU is the first and only institution to be accredited by the Higher Education Academy in East Africa and South Asia.

The creation of the Academy will enhance AKU's position among the top universities globally, stressed Dr Haile Debas, chair of the Academy's Advisory Board and chair pro tem of AKU's Board of Trustees. "The Academy will provide tangible recognition to AKU teachers, who are the architects and guardians of the quality of teaching and learning in each of its schools."

Provost Dr Carl Amrhein lauded the launch of the Academy as building on many years of work in improving higher education teaching. These efforts have helped the faculty transition AKU's teaching online without compromising on quality through the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Teaching has gone beyond chalk and talk and video lectures to involve students in active learning.

The inaugural call for membership to the Academy was made at a virtual ceremony hosted by the University's Network of Quality, Teaching and Learning (QTL net), which supports the professional development of faculty and seeks to raise teaching standards across AKU's six campuses around the world.

The ceremony was attended by a large number of AKU faculty and staff from East Africa, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

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