Listen to Hazrat Ali's words: "No honour is like knowledge. No belief is like modesty and patience. No attainment is like humility. No power is like forbearance. And no support is more reliable than consultation".

The passage - beginning with the word "knowledge" and ending with the word "consultation"- sums up my message to you tonight. It is my prayer that all of us - with a common commitment to knowledge - and in a continuing spirit of consultation - can go forward together to meet our great challenges.

—Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan at the State Banquet, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 18 August 2007

Timeline

For events since 2007, see the What's New page.

DateEvent
1994Our first application for positions at Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School
1997We interview in East Africa for positions with AKES
March 2005
3Interview with Dr. Peter Samaranayake (Dr. Sam), AKES,T Head of Education, in Toronto
24AKES,T makes its first offer
27We decline AKES,T's offer
August 2005
1AKES,T contacts us again, wanting to know our status, and what it would take to get us to Tanzania
3We reply to AKES,T
5AKES,T says yes in principle
17AKES,T gives the go-ahead
18Email from Dr. Sam regarding "telephonic interview"
19Phone conversation with Laura Swash, Head of School, and John Forbes, IB Coordinator - they express uncertainty about our roles
20AKES,T contracts arrive;
we send back amendments;
Dr. Sam telephones to discuss contract issues
23Dr. Sam requests letters of application;
he says that this is just a formality
30Couriered contracts and documents to AKES,T
October 2005
18Air tickets arrive
28We leave Ottawa
30We arrive in Dar es Salaam
31First day at school;
we meet with Laura Swash and John Forbes, who seem not to know why we are there
November 2005
1Mike starts teaching;
Saira observes classes
3John Forbes tells Saira that AKMSS students have language problems;
Dr. Sam asks Saira if she would take over the English classes from two teachers leaving in December
5After-hours curriculum development begins - the group meets at our flat everyday after school
8IBO inspection meeting with staff;
John Forbes gives Saira minutes of AKES,T Board meeting regarding language policy
9Mike has a fruitless meeting with John Forbes regarding curriculum and the humanities;
Laura Swash and John Forbes hold information meeting for new staff members and make comments about AKDN
15Saira teaches first support staff class
18"Induction for new teachers" meeting;
John Forbes interrupts our curriculum meeting with the Deputy Head, Academics
22Saira sends language report to Laura Swash, Dr. Sam, Siraj Narsi (CEO), and Alkarim Dawood (Chair of Board)
23Humanities curriculum meeting with Dr. Sam - he informs the group that he does not wish to be involved at this level
25Meeting with Siraj Narsi, CEO
29IBO gives AKMSS authorization
December 2005
1Meeting with Dr. Sam
4Give "Suggestions for Improvement at AKMSS" to Alkarim Dawood, Chair of AKES,T
6Laura Swash challenges Saira about her class assignments in the new year, and seems not to comprehend the terms of Saira's contract
7Saira insists on a meeting with Dr. Sam;
Laura Swash insists that Siraj Narsi be present;
Dr. Sam is unreachable
8Difficult meeting with Siraj Narsi and Laura Swash;
Laura Swash informs us that another foreign teacher is being brought to set up a "whole school English program"
13School closes for Christmas holidays
January 2006
9School re-opens for new term - the CEO has withdrawn his son from the school
10Announcement that Dr. Sam no longer works for AKES,T and that all communication is to go through Laura Swash
13An Australian couple (Joy Fowler and Alan Castree) join the school - they turn out to be old friends of Laura Swash
17Laura Swash comes into our classes unannounced
27Elly Oloo Nyamwaya is appointed Head of English
30Meeting regarding the future of the national curriculum
31Mike sends email to Laura Swash in response to her request for suggestions about national curriculum;
Laura Swash replies to say that Form V cannot be reintroduced
February 2006
1Freda Forbes appointed the new IGCSE Coordinator
2Joy Fowler promoted to mentor of English department - this relieves her of all teaching duties and curriculum development;
her only task now is to sit in on classes and evaluate teachers;
her reports determine the future of these teachers
3We meet with Aziz Rattansi (CFO) and Siraj Narsi (CEO) regarding salary issues
5We call Waheeda Samji (Chair of Board) to request a meeting
6Meeting with Waheeda Samji - we inform her of the situation at AKMSS (she brings up both our probation and the appraisal process)
8We send reports to Waheeda Samji
10Receive email from Waheeda Samji - the last two reports not received;
Mike resends them [Receipt never acknowledged];
Laura Swash comes into our classes unannounced
13Reintroduction of Form V announced
16IB information session for parents
19We email Waheeda Samji
21Open letter emailed to Laura Swash objecting to her remarks in the morning staff meeting;
Rosemary Kinyanjui accosts Saira with demands about the class for support staff;
Laura Swash sends a public response and a private response to our open letter
22Rosemary Kinyanjui sends an email to Saira regarding the support staff class
23Saira responds to Rosemary Kinyanjui's email;
Rosemary Kinyanjui replies in a libellous fashion, cc'ing her email to the CEO and the Head of School;
we send our reports to Mirza Pardhan at Aiglemont
24Rosemary Kinyanjui sends a "retraction"
25We send our reports to Zahir Jivani, Chair of the Jamati Council
27Email replies from Mirza Pardhan and Zahir Jivani
March 2006
6"Educational consultants" visit the school
7One of the consultants comes into Mike's class unannounced;
staff meeting with the same consultant;
Laura Swash comes into Mike's class unannounced
10Laura Swash hands out the appraisal forms, and posts a notice regarding the process (including the schedule) on the Teaching Resource Centre door
13We meet with our 1st appraisers to inform them of our intention to raise issues about the form and the process with the AKES,T Board;
email from Laura Swash ordering us to go get appraised;
we send email to Waheeda Samji [we have never received a response]
14Send email to Mirza Pardhan regarding the "educational consultants" visit
15Send email to our 1st appraisers, cc'd to Laura Swash, informing them that we have sent our concerns to the AKES,T Board;
Laura Swash goes overseas for a week
16Reply from Mirza Pardhan regarding our concerns about the educational consultants
20Dr. Desmond Pearce arrives to conduct a review of AKMSS;
he brings a new appraisal form, acknowledging that the AKMSS form is unworkable
21Meetings with Des Pearce;
staff air their concerns about the school
22Laura Swash returns from overseas;
she informs us after the morning meeting that she wishes to meet with us at 2:45, but refuses to tell us why;
at 2:45, she still refuses to tell us - we decline to meet with her and advise her to put it in writing;
~3pm the Deputy Head, Administration delivers our letters of termination;
we send emails to Waheeda Samji, and to Mirza Pardhan, Pascale Kokanosky, Salim Bhatia, and Nimet Rener at Aiglemont;
we accidently receive email from Nimet Rener, expressing surprise at our termination
23CEO's resignation announced;
students protest our sacking;
Laura Swash goes to all grade 8 and 9 classes to tell students that we are too expensive and not qualified;
Mike calls Waheeda Samji for a meeting to discuss contractual issues - she refuses to meet for 8-10 days;
we deliver our letter to Laura Swash informing her that we have contractual issues to discuss with the Chair of AKES,T;
we send a copy of our letter to Waheeda Samji [no response], and give copies to the Deputy Heads and our respective Heads of Department;
Siraj Narsi (ex-CEO) calls to summon us to a meeting the next day (March 24) with him and Laura Swash - Mike insists that Waheeda Samji or another Board member also be present
24Waheeda Samji emails to ask why we want to meet with her;
we reply that the first two questions regard (i) the validity of the termination, and (ii) the fact that no reason whatsoever was given [no response];
email from Laura Swash in response to our March 15 email regarding the appraisal process
27Our classes are re-scheduled and re-assigned;
students submit a petition to the AKES,T Board [no response]
28Ex-CEO holds staff meeting at the school
29"Educational consultant" report circulated at the school
31Laura Swash holds staff meeting to explain her vision for the school
April 2006
3Continuing silence from the AKES,T Board;
we seek legal advice
4We decide to take legal action, and instruct our advocate to send a letter to the Chair of AKES,T outlining our grievances and the remedy we expect;
the letter asks for a round-table meeting on April 8 at 10am to resolve the issue amicably
5Telephone call and visit from Shezhad Pirani
6Aziz Rattansey, CFO of AKES,T, contacts us to say AKES,T would like to meet us on April 8, but without lawyers present;
we prefer to have our advocate present;
Shezhad Pirani calls us with the same message;
letter to staff from Waheeda Samji repeating the message of the "educational consultants" and stating that the headmistress was going abroad to recruit more "internationally qualified teachers";
we receive written notice from AKES,T Chair saying that April 8 was not convenient for them, and suggesting April 13 at 10am instead
7School closes for Easter holidays
10Our advocate tells AKES,T that April 13 is fine, but requests 2pm since he is in court throughout the morning
12AKES,T replies that April 13 is no longer convenient and asks to put the meeting off again until April 20, perhaps;
as our letters of termination order us to vacate our apartment on April 23, our advocate refuses this suggestion on our behalf
13Email from Amin Kurji, AKDN representative, asking if he can help resolve this matter out of court;
we reply but never hear from him again
18We meet with the Consular Officer at the Canadian High Commission;
a letter is sent to the AKES,T Chair stating concern about the "precarious and uncertain status of the Canadian couple in Tanzania" and requesting "a timely resolution of this situation"
19Regional Labour Officer report
20AKMSS is served with a summons to appear in court
21First appearance in court - we are able to retain possession of the flat for the duration of the case;
second court date scheduled for April 28, with the hope that a settlement will be reached before then
22Our lawyer is contacted by AKES,T's lawyer, who says that they have agreed to pay
24We are interviewed by a student journalist at AKMSS for the school paper
25We are served with letters banning us from entering the school;
Laura Swash off to international recruitment fair in the UK
27We complete our exit formalities;
first and only meeting with AKES,T, at their lawyer's office - no settlement can be reached since no Board member is present
28John and Freda Forbes announce their resignation;
second appearance in court - AKES,T lawyer absent - case adjourned to May 3
29Reply from AKES,T Chair to the Canadian High Commission stating that "AKES,T has always had every intention of providing all the benefits...and will do so as soon as Mr and Mrs Fitzgerald have completed their exit formalities"
May 2006
3Third appearance in court - AKES,T lawyer absent - case adjourned to May 8
5Rosemary Kinyanjui announces her resignation
8Laura Swash announces her resignation;
fourth appearance in court - AKES,T lawyer absent - case adjourned to June 9
13AKES,T lawyer informs our lawyer that he thought we had already been paid - this was why he did not appear in court on May 8
18CFO announces his resignation
19Court mediation scheduled for May 25
25Court mediation put off until June 1;
AKES,T lawyer out of town but leaves message that they have agreed to pay what we asked for at the round-table discussion of April 27
29AKES,T delivers offer of settlement
June 2006
1Court mediation put off until June 8
3We reply to AKES,T's offer of settlement
5We send letter by registered mail to Princess Zahra Aga Khan
8We are not on the schedule for court mediation
9Case comes up for hearing - AKES,T lawyer is absent but has sent a representative to request an adjournment to another date;
the magistrate schedules a series of dates for written submissions on preliminary objections: Defendants to file on June 12, Plaintiffs to respond on June 14, Defendants to respond on June 16;
ruling scheduled for June 21
21Ruling put off to next day - AKES,T lawyer absent again but sends another representative
22Magistrate rules in our favour - all preliminary objections raised by AKES,T are dismissed as being without merit - court mediation scheduled for June 29
29Court mediation takes place - AKES,T ordered to pay what is not in dispute;
a trial date is to be set for the remaining items
30First article reporting on the case appears in the Guardian newspaper;
school closes for summer holidays
July 2006
3Second article reporting on the case appears in the Guardian newspaper;
cheques and air tickets delivered by AKES,T, but they fail to fulfill the terms of the settlement order, which stipulate "The air tickets to be open"
18Trial date set for July 21
21Case adjourned until July 25
25Case cannot be heard because AKES,T lawyer is absent - new date set for July 27;
AKES,T is served with a summons to appear on that date
27First day of trial - Saira gives her testimony - case adjourned until August 3
29Third article reporting on the case appears in the Guardian newspaper
August 2006
3Second day of trial - AKES,T objects to the newspaper reporter in the courtroom and asks that he be banned - Mike gives partial testimony - AKES,T objects to the AKES,T Policy and Procedures Manual being a photocopy - case adjourned to August 7
7Third day of trial - magistrate rules that (i) the reporter can remain in the courtroom, and (ii) that the AKES,T Policy and Procedures cannot be entered as evidence, but may be referred to by the witness - Mike finishes testifying - case adjourned until August 23
23Fourth day of trial - case adjourned to September 5 because AKES,T have no witnesses - AKES,T lawyer claims that Laura Swash is "untraceable" [but see this website]
September 2006
5Fifth day of trial - AKES,T produces 1st witness, a fellow teacher from AKMSS;
cross-examination, and testimony and cross-examination of 2nd AKES,T witness set for September 8
8AKES,T appears with their 1st witness only - our advocate is informed that the second witness, Shehzad Pirani, had to go to mosque - magistrate has another engagement - case adjourned until September 14
14Magistrate is ill - case adjourned until September 21
21Sixth day of trial - cross-examination of 1st AKES,T witness and testimony and cross-examination of second AKES,T witness, Shezhad Pirani - testimony is concluded - magistrate sets dates for written submissions: Defendants to file on September 25, Plaintiffs to respond on September 28;
judgement scheduled for October 16
29Joy Fowler announces her resignation
October 2006
16A new magistrate reads the judgement left by the previous magistrate, who has relocated - our case is dismissed for lack of a legal basis - we have the right to appeal
17Photocopies of letters of eviction and demand for legal costs signed by Shehzad Pirani slipped under our door - we must vacate the flat by noon October 19 and AKES,T demand $4,000 USD
18Original letters hand-delivered;
a third letter demanding a response to these letters hand-delivered by Shezhad Pirani
19We leave Dar es Salaam
November 2006
21We arrive back in Ottawa
March 2007
7www.historyofafailure.com goes live
May 2007
3Our advocate informs us that our appeal hearing has been set for June 27
July 2007
10Our advocate informs us that AKES,T has filed objections to our appeal - the hearing has been adjourned until October - written objections and responses are to be filed

For events since 2007, see the What's New page.

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