Burundi American International Academy (BAIA) will open its doors on September 2014 with an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through robotics, character and confidence building and fluency in English and French. An interview with the founder of the school, Dr Freddy Kaniki. -By Diane Uwimana
Who is Dr. Freddy Kaniki?
I was born and raised in the great lakes region. My father was a Pastor and we moved a lot from one region to another pastoring church. I attended elementary and high school in the Democratic Republic of Congo and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at the National University of Rwanda. I moved to America in 2001 to pursue my Doctorate’s degree in Clinical pharmacy at the University of Colorado in Denver. I currently work for a federal hospital in the USA.
What made you chose Burundi to implement Burundi American International Academy?
The geographical positioning of Burundi at the heart of Africa is our main reason. Also, a need for an English medium school is higher than it is in the neighbouring countries in the EAC.
What makes the Burundi American International Academy so unique?
Its mission and mostly its curriculum and the system in which it is delivered. At BAIA, we will administer the AERO (American Education Reaches Out) program with an emphasis in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics). We believe that kids learn more when they apply the knowledge in something practical. We use robotics, engineering design and programming using raspberry pies for application and inspiration. Our classes are on a 15:1 student teacher ratio. For every 15 students there is one teacher, if the class has more than 15 students, we provide a second teacher, this allows better outcome.
Our school will provide student transportation to and from school for those parents who need help with the kids’ transportation. Our school will be bilingual with classes taught in French and English. We will start with an intensive period of just French and English to allow kids from the national program to be able to follow classes in English and then we will start with regular classes. As much as we strive to instil the AERO curriculum in these kids to make them competitive at a global level, we would also like to make sure that these kids are deeply rooted in the culture, history and able to appreciate their country values.
What are BAIA expectations?
I see BAIA becoming a leader in education. Competing with other schools in America on SAT and other standardized tests. Our mission is two-fold:
creating a strong academic foundation by administering a technology-focused curriculum that reflects the needs of the country and the region through science, math and engineering & planting the seeds of personal responsibility, respect for others, and recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye – the oneness of humanity – so that future generations realize better a different reality than their predecessors. Building character and personalities is a big part of the school mission. People don’t succeed in life just because they are brilliant in school, but rather because they are well rounded both academically and socially. We have to ensure we are planting the right seeds in tomorrow’s leaders, building their character while empowering them to be competitive at a global level. This has to be visible in their language, attire, behaviour and work ethics.
What equipment are you bringing at BAIA?
We have been able to acquire what we think is needed to deliver the quality of education we envision. We have 100 computers for student use, 30 raspberry pies, more than 200 science kits and many robotic materials for all levels. We will be using smart boards
Any message to Burundian parents?
When you think about the future of your child in this fast pace world, think about BAIA. You will be happy you made a good call. We have a vision and we are doing our part, however, we cannot do it alone, we need parents to invest in the education of their kids and together as shareholders we will reach our goal.
BAIA is located in Kinindo commune, just behind King’s Conference Center. For more information call on 78 15 15 15