Nairobi, Kenya – The Centre for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) in Karen, Nairobi, hosted the 4th STEM Boot Camp, emphasizing the need for learning institutions to incorporate problem-solving skills in their curricula. The focus is on training young learners to use their brains effectively to tackle life’s challenges.
According to Kenya News Agency, Advisor to the Director on Africa Initiatives for the CEMC-University of Waterloo in Canada, Kenya, despite its rich resources, faces a shortage of problem solvers. “We must start training problem solvers in our schools at a young age so that their brains can look at things differently,” Korir, a former Member of Parliament for Cherangany Constituency and Boston Marathon Champion, said during the opening of the event. The one-week program, themed ‘Igniting the Future: Inspire, Imagine, and Innovate’, aims to equip learners from grade three to form four with skills in creative coding, mobile app development, graphic design, and robotics, along with practical exposure to math and science disciplines.
CEMASTEA, an institution under the Ministry of Education established in 2004, organizes these STEM Bootcamps annually during holidays. Korir, working in collaboration with CEMASTEA, expressed his commitment to using STEM education to nurture future problem solvers and leaders of the country. He criticized the current exam system for its focus on memorization and urged participants to train themselves in problem-solving using the skills acquired in robotics, coding, and programming. “The best way to become a billionaire is to solve someone’s problem,” he advised, citing examples like Mark Zuckerberg and the creator of Zoom who leveraged their innovative thinking to achieve success.
The Deputy Coordinator of the STEM Programme at CEMASTEA, Mr. Martin Mungai, highlighted the importance of coding in schools, starting from grade four, as central to the competency-based curriculum. He emphasized that the exposure provided by these bootcamps would help learners not only gain knowledge but also develop problem-solving skills. “We believe that through the STEM bootcamps, we are nurturing young minds’ talent and planting a seed; this will curb the shortage of manpower in our country,” Mungai added.
Mungai also announced that CEMASTEA has a team ready to represent the county in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) at Bath University in the United Kingdom and the Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) competitions in 2024. The skills developed in the CEMASTEA STEM Bootcamps, including communication, collaboration, and adaptability, are aimed at making the participants valuable in the future job market and contributing to making the country and the world a better place.