Israeli Tech Programme for Children unveiled in Uganda
By Simon Bukenya
The e2 Young Engineers Uganda, the first ever practical Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programme for children aged 4-15 years using a LEGO curriculum has been unveiled in Uganda.
The African School of Innovations Science and Technology (ASIST) Limited’s Managing Director, Journalist and Media Entrepreneur,
Arinaitwe Rugyendo says the company’s flagship programme is aimed at nurturing the next generation of scientists, innovators, critical thinkers, problem solvers and entrepreneurs who will advance the cause of technological transformation in Uganda and beyond.
“Our mission is to nurture a critical mass of future scientists and innovators who will tackle 21st century problems using 21st century skills acquired under our programme,” Rugyendo told journalists who turned up for the unveiling last week at the company’s offices at Padre Pio House, level 4 along Lumumba Avenue in the capital Kampala.
Rugyendo revealed that the vision of the unique programme is to bring quality STEM education programmes to young students 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!
He revealed that the programme is an enabler of the current pre-primary, primary and lower secondary school curriculum and not a substitute.
“It is the disruptor of the theoretical and cram work packages that are the major problem of the current system of education is Uganda,” he said.
The chief guest and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information & ICT, Hon. Vincent Bagiire, lauded the founders of the programme and pledged government support.
“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 like so that we create an innovation 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 innovation skills by practically demonstrating an imaginary well organised city that they thought would be the best alternative to the chaotic and jam packed Kampala city.
The City of Paradise: The City of Paradise was a joint project put together by the children on the programme. They were asked to openly show the journalists what problems they find about Kampala City and how they can, using LEGO, imagine a solution.
The City of Paradise emerged as an alternative imaginary city to Kampala. The children managed to plan and build an organised city using LEGO bricks which they demonstrated it before excited journalists and guests from the Irish embassy and other western Missions.
How the programme works
The programme uses a LEGO curriculum and kits from which children build different models aligned to a particular problem. It is divided into five stages in which a child who entered it at the age of 4 is able to exit at the age of 15 armed with a practical project for further enhancement and entrepreneurship.
Participation in the class helps the children succeed in school. For children in the lower grades, the class provides an infrastructure of basic knowledge that enables them to comprehend the material that they will learn in sciences and mathematics in the higher grades.
The program has packages for children with special needs,
Summer camps, workshops for seniors, the elderly, birthday parties, and more.
It uses a franchising business model and according to Rugyendo, Ugandan entrepreneurs with an interest in the future of education are encouraged to apply for territories and spread the caravan.
ABOUT THE e2 Young Engineers Uganda
The programme known as the e2 Young Engineers Uganda is part of the world wide educational enrichment programme of the e2 Young Engineers that started in Israel in 2008. It has spread in 47 countries so far and was introduced in Uganda in 2017 by the African School of Innovations Science and Technology (ASIST) limited. The programme has over 40,000 students on its grid in countries such as Singapore, Ireland, USA, South Africa, Australia, Romania, India, Ukraine, Nigeria, UK, Belarus, Switzerland, Peru, Mexico, Ivory Coast, Netherlands, Canada, Vietnam, Portugal, Turkey, Bulgaria, Kenya, Uganda, Finland, China,Costa Rica, Ghana, Ecuador, South Korea, Macedonia andPoland. In Uganda, the programme has spread to schools such as Heritage International, Kabojja International School, British School of Kampala, Acacia International, Edu Smith International School, Little Petals Pre-School- Naalya, Orel Vine International and is linked to Carnegie Mellon University, Apple.inc and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs