African Leadership Academy combines a world-class faculty and unique instructional methods to create a strong student-centered curriculum. The goal of the ALA curriculum is to provide young leaders with the knowledge and inspiration they need to take action as agents of positive change on the African continent.
The Entrepreneurial Leadership program at ALA is designed to build the interpersonal and leadership skills that are essential for future agents of positive change. Through this program, students develop the mind-set, approach, and skills necessary to be entrepreneurial leaders on the African continent and beyond. The syllabus includes a variety of teaching methods, including team-based design challenges, guest speakers, mini-lectures, simulations and games, case studies and experiential learning.
The first year syllabus focuses on conceptual frameworks that challenge assumptions and introduce new ideas in both areas of study, skills that are elemental to successful leaders and entrepreneurs, values reinforcement, and personal growth through leadership coaching. The year culminates in the Original Idea for Development Incubator where students bring to market ideas for change that align with their passions and skills.
During their second year, students run a for-profit or non-profit venture on the ALA campus in teams of 5-7 students through the Student Enterprise Program. This program allows ALA’s young leaders students to put the first year curriculum into practice by simulating real-life business scenarios. Students manage and lead teams of 5-7 students, reporting annually to boards of directors comprised of working professionals and bring their budgets to an Investment Committee to execute a project that has direct impact on the ALA community.
Examples of Student Enterprises are:
- Agrinovation: an on-campus organic produce company which produces and farms organic vegetables and sells them to the ALA community. See video here.
- All 4 Girls Empowerment: A social enterprise which uses a mobile application to empower African girls so that they are no longer victims or target of sexual harassment.
- Footprints: a student enterprise that offers ALA branded merchandise and African souvenirs to the members of the ALA community and its guests
- EmoART: A community service project working towards helping young South African girls develop into healthy, vibrant young women by teaching them life skills through artistic expression.
- Gigavault: A campus-based student enterprise that offers banking services to the ALA economy including accessible savings accounts, merchant accounts, cash disbursement, and more.
This course integrates a focus on skills and conceptual learning with personal growth and tangible action.
Participation in the two-year Entrepreneurial Leadership program is a requirement for all students.
The African Studies curriculum enables students to develop an understanding of Africa’s past and present, a connection to the broader African community and a sense of ownership for the continent’s future. They use the skills and knowledge acquired from the first year curriculum to analyse, debate, and develop solutions to some of the most pressing issues on the African continent.
In the first year, students enroll in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary core that studies Africa through historical, economic, geographic and political lenses. In the second year students are assembled and are tasked with large-scale case studies on subjects ranging from health care provision to poverty and eradication. The course deepens each student’s commitment to the continent, inspires a passion for Africa and ultimately lays a foundation for analysing contemporary challenges in the second year. Students develop the understanding of the roots of present day challenges and opportunities on the African continent. Participation in the African Studies program is a requirement for all students.
Independent research helps young people to develop their critical thinking and analytical abilities, presentation skills and learn to collaborate with other researchers. Independent research courses are offered as second year elective courses at ALA and teach students to fully analyze and interpret journal-level writing allowing them to become experts in a particular field that aligns with their interests. Courses offered include: Scientific Research, Humanities Research and Creative Research.
Previous research projects conducted include: HIV/Aids and Quantum Computing as part of the Scientific Research course and Socialism in Tanzania, and Mobile and Digital Media in African Presidential Campaigns as part of the Humanities Research Course. The Creative Research course forms part of the Creative Arts Department and requires students to research a specific area of interest and produce project or presentation that shows their development, exploration and experience. The presentation includes a carefully selected and edited material for a high quality presentation, which responds to a clearly formulated question based on the topic of interest.
Writing & Rhetoric
Our specially developed Writing and Rhetoric is based on the core premise that writing is thinking. Regardless of their career path, future leaders need to be complex, creative, and reflective thinkers who can ably communicate their ideas to others, as such the course is compulsory for all students. Our curriculum is uniquely Pan-African, exposing our students to past and present voices, as we look to develop the future voices of the continent. It develops the skills of critical thinking, reading, writing, listening, speaking, inquiry and research. We seek to empower young leaders to communicate their ideas, advocate for change, and use their voice to make an impact on the world.
Every term the community takes part in an Academy-wide reading and discussion exercise known as Seminal Readings. Over the course of the week, all regular classes pause and groups focus entirely on reading and discussing ‘sets’ of readings. This exercise provides an opportunity for the Academy to discuss issues of universal importance. All faculty members facilitate the discussions, allowing students the opportunity to debate, critically analyse and reflect on values and identify shared values within the ALA community of leaders. In each term, the Seminal Readings program deals with a specific theme, including Resistance and Oppression, The Good Society and Power and People & Decisions.