During a normal July at African Leadership Academy, campus would be bustling with activity and energy from students and facilitators involved in our Global Scholars Program (GSP). Although the ongoing COVID pandemic prevented the Academy from bringing students to Johannesburg for the traditional program, the ALA campus remains far from quiet. This month marked the start of our Global Summer Short Courses, bringing students from around the world together for a unique online program.
Our Entrepreneurship for Social Change course closely mirrored the GSP curriculum, helping both middle and high school students develop as entrepreneurial leaders while also introducing them to the flagship BUILD design-thinking model. In Imagining the Future, students discussed global issues and engaged with new ways to solve challenges such as climate change. All Things Africa is an adaptation of the Academy’s unique African Studies curriculum, introducing students to the history and diversity of the African continent.
The first session of courses ran from July 6th through July 17th and was very well received by both students and parents. Elizabeth, the parent of two participants from Uganda, wrote, “Both [students] have been hyped up from the first lesson about the teaching style and studying with students from across the globe. The courses have ignited a new fire beneath them.”
All of these courses provide notable opportunities for students to engage with not only peers from around the world, but also to connect with some of the African continent’s best and brightest young leaders – their course teachers.
All online programs are led by Kalliope Kruesmann ’12 who also serves as coordinator of the ALforEducation Network. For ALA, the Global Summer Short Courses serve as an opportunity to engage with students who would otherwise have participated at GSP this summer, while also providing crucial job and internship opportunities for ALA alumni. Course facilitators underwent rigorous training before stepping into their virtual classrooms. They created a high-engagement learning environment right from the start where participants then have the chance to learn directly from ALA graduates.
As facilitators, alumni have excelled in working around the limitations of online learning by creating discussion-heavy lessons that keep participants engaged and focused. Reflecting on his experience teaching, David Eta ’18 commented “I felt very fulfilled recently when one of my students sent me a message to say that they were able to implement some of the concepts that I taught”.
Bamidele, parent to Chidalu from Nigeria, shared, “The facilitators… are doing a great job! It is as if they have known each other for so long, because it was easy for Chidalu to adapt to their way of teaching.”