Within AISA’s community of schools the goal is to graduate young people who are passionate about contributing to the world around them, who are compassionate, confident change-makers; people whose educational core has been enhanced and strengthened by the integration of service learning into their curricula.
For many years, AISA has championed service learning and most of our schools have well-established programmes that reflect best practice. To help further equip our students in the creation of a better world, AISA offers opportunities for you to share your school’s service learning experiences with fellow AISA member schools with the AISA Global Issues Service Summit (AISA GISS) that usually takes place each year. Unfortunately, the AISA-GISS event planned for 2021 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions. But AISA is looking at ways for schools to continue to showcase their service learning programmes in an online platform. More on this soon.
Why is service learning important?
Essentially, service learning connects school-based curricula with the concern young people have around key issues that impact our planet – whether on their school campus, in local communities, or in distant rain forests. Results are indelible, lifelong lessons for our students and foster a stronger society for us all.
AISA supports service learning in several ways, including professional development opportunities at conferences, institutes and webinars and, more recently, by establishing a service learning online forum. The forum is an online space for educators from international schools across Africa who understand the importance and value of curricula integration and the implementation of high quality service learning.
“AISA's approach is embedded in its belief that our schools should be supporting the growth and development of the communities and countries where they are located,” says David Henry, Director of the International school of Kenya. “One of the best ways to do this is through service learning driven by the students in our schools. Our students develop a sense of purpose and personal fulfilment while supporting how a community might develop independently.”
Recognition and reward
AISA offers two awards, Outstanding Service Project and Student Service Leader, to encourage and recognise the service learning achievements of schools and students from within the AISA school network. Our award winners for 2019/20 include students from the International School of Kenya and the International School of Tanganyika, Tanzania. We hope to offer these awards again in 2021.
“All too often attention is only paid when students achieve things in sports and academics, says Ellie Sato, Service Learning Coordinator at the International School of Tanganyika. “Having prestigious awards dedicated solely to service, motivates students to get involved in service activities that they are passionate about.”
David agrees. “These awards have had tremendous impact. They are highlighted at our graduation ceremony in a way that solidifies our school's mission and vision and approach to teaching and learning.” AISA welcomes all member schools to nominate outstanding students who have excelled in this essential area of learning and self-fulfilment.
Service learning is ever-changing, its dynamism resulting in many different programmes and projects throughout the AISA region. By participating and sharing your successes and challenges, your school is helping to shape the future of our students and the world. In the face of massive change, our objectives have remained constant; to inspire optimistic, confident, globally minded, caring students who have a sense of real responsibility and willingness to cooperate with others. In other words, to be effective leaders.
International School of Kenya, Outstanding Service Award
International School of Tanganyika (IST), Student Service Leader Award