“As the founding class, you have the opportunity to make history as people who believed in this idea” said ALU Founder, Fred Swaniker as he addressed students on the first day of orientation. After travelling a combined 49,904 miles, the first cohort of African Leadership College (ALC), as ALU is officially named in Mauritius, students arrived in Mauritius a little under a week ago.
Students spent their first few days at ALC meeting other driven and passionate young people from countries across Africa and getting to know each other. “We are officially a family, walking the same path on the same journey. And who says long journeys shouldn’t be fun? We are the definition of fun,” said Elizabeth Kitange from Tanzania.
Their time has been filled with a lot of first experiences. From being away from home for the first time, to seeing the ocean for the first time, to being in the same space as so many other young Africans for the first time, students have already began braving uncharted territories.
The first day of orientation focused on ALC’s big picture vision as students reflected on their personal visions for ALC and for Africa. For many, ALC will be the school that will set precedence for 21st century education in the world. For others, ALC will serve as the light that will show the potential that the continent holds and change the way people think about Africa.
“ALC is like a lighted coal in a coal pot. One coal can light up the whole pot. ALC makes you a torch bearer. It gives you the knowledge and skills needed and equips you to go back to your country and teach people to make your country better,” said Lawrenda Adzomani from Ghana.
“Most of the communities we come from tend to be communal and want to do things in one way because that is the way it has always been done. My vision for ALC is that it will be a place where we are unafraid and unashamed to be red and yellow and green. That, it will be a place where we will not be scared to be who we are. ALC is going to be different,” added Catherine Njeri from Kenya.
Students were also introduced to ALC’s four-part week-long learning cycle that helps students connect academic concepts to the real world through application and practice. The cycle begins with a discovery session designed to give students moments of realization where they recognize what they do not know and are motivated to learn about it. This is followed by self work which allows students to learn core concepts on their own in a self-paced, risk-free online environment. After self work comes peer work because one of the best ways to internalize learning is to teach it to someone else. This builds both confidence and mastery. Finally, students will get a chance to get together with their peers for a facilitated ‘expansion’ session led by our in-house faculty. Facilitators will take the concept/skill learnt to the next level through engaging activities such as debates, interviews with experts, simulations, and so on.
“The learning model is great. Peer sessions are great but it’s a new concept. It’s different from what I did in high school. It will take some getting used to but I’m excited to learn,” said Ukeme Jonah from Nigeria.
We are thrilled to begin working and problem solving with the students. As Khurram Masood, ALC’s Head of College said, “founders have the responsibility to shape the vision,” and we can’t wait to shape our vision with these trailblazers.