Recognising the huge gap between Ethiopian children with potential and their access to quality education, the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia (ILAE) was established in 2013 by Ethiopians living in the United States in partnership with the Northwest School in Seattle, Washington. ILAE’s rigorous and well-rounded, world-class curriculum equips students in financial need with the knowledge and experience needed to enter top universities around the world.
“The ILAE’s first 10th grade class, now graduating as senior 12th graders, delivered national exam scores in the top 2% nationally,” says Panos Hatziandreas, Head of the school.
Various other entrance tests, including Yale University in the United States, Ashoka University in India and institutions in Denmark and China returned similarly high results, earning ILAE students scholarships for internationally acclaimed programmes around the world.
Standard Bank Ethiopia has become a major funder of this innovative school, making two sizeable donations in the past 18 months.
“Though ILAE started relatively small, our students have also hit upon an innovative way to take the school’s world-class curriculum and teaching methods to millions of Ethiopians,” Panos says.
The ILAE students are proactively developing teaching modules for different subjects, adapting them, “to help other children in remote places without access to schools – to learn remotely via satellite phones”, he says.
“If we are to close the gap between potential and opportunity for the millions of Ethiopian children that need it, we need to find a way to take our model to scale – affordably and efficiently." To achieve this, ILAE is working with YAZMI, a satellite communications provider, to take the curriculum to thousands more students across Ethiopia – by phone.
“Combining technology like YAZMI with the kind of out-of-the-box thinking by ILAE students who are able to create exportable versions of their own learning experiences holds incredible potential for re-inventing education across the continent,” Panos says. The ILAE currently has a staff of 20 and a student body of 105. Supporting social entrepreneurship is part of Standard Bank’s broader vision for building sustainable communities throughout East Africa.
“The International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia has two primary objectives. One is to find the top 1% of highly talented students…. the other criteria is to find students who are not only bright but… who come from socioeconomic backgrounds that won’t allow them to access the best education possible.” – Panos Hatziandreas – Head of School & Country Representative" Watch the YouTube video for more insight.
Standard Bank currently supports 20 other community-based projects in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Projects range from education, early childhood nutrition, youth development, empowering women, agricultural support, health and hygiene, financial literacy and key infrastructure support.
Financial services are an important enabler of growth. “As a bank committed to Africa’s growth, Standard Bank is proud to support the continent’s entrepreneurs – no matter how young – as we work to transform the lives of ordinary Africans,” says Taitu Wondwosen of Standard Bank in Ethiopia. Once the students have completed school at ILAE, they apply and get accepted into universities and colleges throughout the world including Ethiopia.