By Mbabazi Hanning Gonzanga
Kampala: Gov’t of Uganda has pledged full support to Israel sourced modern technology programme known as “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” (STEM), aimed at skilling Ugandan children aged 4-15 yrs from being agonizers to real problem solvers, innovators.
This was revealed by the permanent secretary ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Hon.Vincent Waiswa Bagiire on Tuesday while officiating at the unveiling of the programme in Uganda on Padro Pio House along Lumumba Avenue, Kampala.
Mr.Arinaitwe Rugyendo, the managing Director, African School Of Innovations Science & Technology Ltd (ASIST), the local firm that partnered with Israeli company to bring home the practical programme told distinguished invited guests, members of the public and the press who graced the occasion that they decided to bring home e2 young Engineers programme, designed in Isreal to start the journey of preparing African children to be job creators, problem solvers to solve some of the problems the continent is currently grappling with.
“This ‘LEGO curriculum’ doesn’t only teach but also trains your child to be self-reliant in problem solving and job creation using Science and innovation skills. It teaches that child, that he/she has solution to the challenge they’re facing, all they need is to think beyond the box by tasking their brains a little harder. We’re nurturing the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs who will advance the cause of technology in Uganda and beyond,” Rugyendo said.
The Desmond Tutu fellow told excited audience who witnessed some of the students demonstrate their already acquired skills through building LEGO puzzles that the programme was a total ‘disruptor’ of the theoretical and cram work packages which are the major problem of the current Education system in Uganda where children are taught to pass exams but finally fail in other aspects of life when they’re done with their theoretical colonial Education.
Maureen Rugyendo, a co-director and wife to Rugyendo added that the vision of this unique programme is to bring quality STEM Education programmes to the young children around the world in fun and engaging lessons while teaching practical skills they are going to need to become the next generation of engineers and scientists.
Maureen revealed that the programme is an enabler of the current pre-primary, primary and lower secondary curriculum and not a substitute.
In his speech, the Permanent secretary (PS) to ICT ministry Hon.Vincent Waiswa Bagiire said he has billions of money under his ministry which Gov’t allocated as its commitment to supporting technological advancements in order to favorably compete with the rest of the world.
“Countries world over are adapting to the knowledge economy, our government has not been left behind, there is an innovation fund in my ministry which is meant for innovators so that we create an innovative eco-system from which different applications are developed to solve our problems and prevent Uganda from being a net importer of software”, he said.
During the unveiling ceremony, some of the children on the programme displayed excellent innovative skills by practically demonstrating an imaginary well organized city that they thought would be the best alternative to the chaotic and jam packed Kampala.
The children were able to plan and build an organized city using LEGO bricks and demonstrated before the excited journalists and guests, among whom were from the Irish Embassy in Kampala.
How The Programme Works
e² Young Engineers programs are run on an Israel-designed Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) program that includes after school enrichment classes, pre-school classes, summer camps, birthday parties and special events where children are given an opportunity to learn while having fun, building with the world’s favorite building block-LEGO.
Programs utilize an Edu-tainment (Education + Entertainment) approach, transforming the learning process into a game, while introducing children to theoretical and practical knowledge in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
The programme for Uganda-chapter started in July 2016 in Naalya-Namugongo Road in Kira Municipality but later in 2018 shifted to city Centre at Padro Pio House along Lumumba Avenue, Kampala to take care of the central demand, after parents from other parts of the Kampala metro-politan area complained of the distance and jam to Naalya.