The Maarif International School (MIS), which opened here in Accra in 2019, is an offspring of the Turkish Maarif Foundation (TMF) established in 2016 by the Turkish Government via an act of Parliament.
The primary function of this state foundation is to provide high level, holistic education and education services as well as education aid for young people all over the world. As the sole entity authorized to provide educational services abroad on behalf of the Turkish State, the foundation’s mission is to carry out comprehensive educational activities throughout the world based on the common values of humanity and the Anatolian tradition of wisdom.
To really appreciate the dearth of the institution, one has to understand the global footprint of the Turkish Maarif Foundation (TMF).
The foundation currently has 363 educational institutions as well as 42 dormitories spread across the length and breadth of the globe. Thus, the TMF manages institutions from North America to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As expected, the largest pool of institutions are across Africa where the need is greatest.
This makes Maarif a global educational outfit and a mammoth institution at that, with over 42,000 students. A student at MIS Ghana is part of the global Maarif family. The strong network among the schools enable pupils and teachers to interact regularly. In this highly competitive, global village we live in, parents ought to identify schools that will do more than just teach their kids.
It is important to identify schools with a wide footprint that will train kids in different ways to perceive and solve problems as well as provide actual long-term opportunities for the kids moving forward. This is precisely what Maarif offers.
Another reason why MIS is such an exciting choice for parents who are looking for a top quality institution for their young ones is the sheer quality of education it provides. The school offers both GES and Cambridge curricula, as well as secondary language studies in French, Turkish and Arabic besides English, which obviously is the main language of education. While MIS Ghana is quite new, Maarif schools in different parts of the world, including Africa, have shown in various competitions they have participated in the superiority of education on offer.
For instance, the Maarif Schools in Tunisia’s Robotics team took the jury’s special award among 73 teams in the first Lego League Arabia 2019 robotic challenge organized in Jordan by Jubilee Institute’s Center for Excellence in Education and Arab Robotics AI Association. Also Djibouti’s Ministry of Education awarded the TMF as the best schools in the 2018-19 academic year. Maarif Schools came up tops in different competitions in Iraq, Sudan and Kosovo as well.
Maarif students have also been shining very brightly thanks to the superior quality education they are receiving. For instance, during the 2018-2019 academic year, students from Maarif Schools at different stages earned success in various international competitions. Maheen Masoud, a high school student of Pak-Turk Maarif School in Pakistan’s Lahore province, took first place in the ‘O-Level Board’ Mathematics competition in June, which is participated by countries applying the Cambridge Assessment International Education system. Masoud also ranked first in Physics in the entire Lahore State, a province which has a population of about 90 million.
Another crucial reason why MIS provides a compelling opportunity for parents who are shopping around for a top notch educational institution for their young ones is the fact that the school offers arguably the most competitive fees of all the A-list schools here in Accra . As indicated at the outset, the MIS is part of the TMF which is a state foundation, and thus, entirely non-profit. As a result, the fees charged by MIS is significantly lower than almost all the top level international schools in Accra. As indicated, the aim of the institution is to provide high quality education to as many people as possible. So in a nutshell, MIS grants top quality international standard education at super affordable, unbeatable fees.
Furthermore, the sheer diversity at MIS makes the experience of studying there a very unique and incredibly wholesome one for the kids. We live now in a world where people can get very intolerant of each other’s skin colour, culture, language and values. All over the world, adults are being educated by organizations and the media to appreciate diversity and inclusivity. Well, diversity is the hallmark of MIS. The school has kids from Ghana, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Israel and many other nationalities. The diverse nationalities allow kids to familiarize themselves with different cultures and thus this becomes the norm for them, not the exception. This gives them a better opportunity to improve their adaptation and competitiveness in any environment.
Turkey in the last decade or so is quickly becoming one of the primary destinations of choice for young people all over the world who are looking to study abroad.
The moderate fees and low living expenses, amazingly diverse program and faculty options, the top level education on offer as well as the cosmopolitan lifestyle of many Turkish University cities has quickly endeared many to choose to study in Turkey. Currently, Turkey has the highest number of students in the entire European higher education area. A major benefit of choosing to study in Maarif is that it is one of the surest ways of getting to study in Turkey. TMF is also the primary Turkish State agency for promoting Turkish Centers of higher learning all over the world.
The situation is no different in Ghana. Thus, all Turkish Government Scholarship programs as well as the Turkish University recruitment programs usually go through Maarif. The organization also organizes various programs as part of its mission to promote Turkish Organizations of higher learning. Students of Maarif therefore always have a bird’s eye view of all opportunities and latest developments in education in Turkey. This makes it very easy for them to take advantage of these opportunities if they so desire.
Situated at the serene Airport Residential area, MIS Ghana is poised to become one of the very best and prestigious education outfits in the country. The school currently offers admissions for only preschool and lower primary. Plans are however far advanced to expand to enroll primary and JHS students in the very near future.
For us in Ghana, the establishment of the Maarif International School could not have come at a better time. The current Government’s strong emphasis in ensuring that young people are able to get the requisite education via such great initiatives like the free SHS simply cannot be overemphasized. In this broad policy framework, the crucial support of key development partners such as the Turkish Government via the launch of the Maarif International School will go a long way in shaping the future of the next generation of young Ghanaians and other young people across the African continent.
The writer is the CEO TurkAfriq Consult