Young Scientists Kenya (YSK) has partnered with The Ministry of Education, The Embassy of Ireland and BLAZE by Safaricom to hold the inaugural National Science and Technology Exhibition.
The exhibition will be held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre on 5th and 6th July 2018. It targets high school students with the aim of encouraging greater uptake of technology and science subjects under the theme: Making STEM Education Accessible To All.
About 5,000 people are expected to attend the event, including 160 student exhibitors from 80 schools in 10 counties.
“I’m honoured to witness the expansion of the Young Scientists programme beyond Ireland to Kenya. Since its launch in Nairobi in July 2017, we have seen tremendous interest in it from students and their teachers, with the high school outreaches that have been taking place over the last few months birthing a well of ideas and future innovators that we expect to see at the conference,” said Prof. John Tony Scott, Young Scientists and Technology Exhibitions Co-Founder.
Dr. Vincent ONeil, Ambassador of Ireland to Kenya and Charles Wanjohi, Head of Consumer Segments at Safaricom listens to Keya Patel from Samaj School as she explains about food preservation using aloe vera during the launch of Young Scientists at CEMASTE center sponsored by Blaze and Irish Aid.
YSK hopes to tap into the wealth of talent in secondary schools by popularizing science and technology through avenues such as the National Exhibition.
These efforts complement those of The Ministry of Education, which has for the last 53 years coordinated the only science co-curriculum activity for Kenyan schools – the Secondary Schools Science Congress, now known as the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair (KSEF).
“Kenya is already recognised as a centre of innovation in Africa, and this initiative by YSK, BLAZE and other partners will undoubtedly play a significant role in grooming the next generation of innovators. I am glad to see the private and public sectors coming together to support the Government’s efforts in popularizing STEM courses, efforts which include setting up two STEM model schools in each of the 47 counties,” said Dr. Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
YSK hopes to ride on the popularity of Safaricom’s youth network, BLAZE, to appeal to high school students and popularize STEM courses among this demographic.
“The National Exhibition will be powered by BLAZE, through a partnership with YSK that will help us achieve our vision of empowering youth by passions. We want to help change the perception that science, technology, engineering and math are tough, and make them more appealing to a generation that is benefitting greatly from mobile phones and the Internet, both of which are creations of science and technology,” said Charles Wanjohi, Head of Segments – Safaricom.
Charles Wanjohi, Head of Consumer Segments at Safaricom at the launch of Young Scientists at CEMASTEA center sponsored by Blaze and Irish Aid.
The schools will build on their participation in the National Science and Technology Exhibition to create formal links with the BT-Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BT-YSTE), which has been held in Ireland for the last 55 years.
BT-YSTE was started in the 1960’s and is credited with directly contributing to Ireland’s success as a leading European knowledge economy.
The winners of the competition will be invited to engage with interested private sector companies and participate in international science and technology events.
Other partners in this initiative include: The French Embassy, Institute of Physics (Ireland), Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA), The National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), and Strathmore University among others. YSK is inviting more partners to come on board in order to widen the initiative’s reach ahead of the national roll-out later this year.