Unlocking the Potential of Girls in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING and MATHEMATICS

    Learning from role models where the girls are exposed to women scientists and engineers who have mentorship sessions with them is the key activity. The girls also get information on STEM courses offered at the university level as well as tips on how best to study for examinations, especially in the sciences. Added to these, students also receive mentorship on life skills and survival techniques to enable them overcome the culturally based gender stereotypes.

    Visiting the Learning Environment:

    Exposure to the learning environment provides students with an opportunity for laboratory demonstrations in STEM courses. Aimed at helping students to make informed career choices, this session provides girls with an opportunity to interact with professors from various STEM fields as well as university students.

    Visiting Industries:

    Students also visit different manufacturing companies to see how science is put into play for the benefit of society and the relevance of the different science subjects in our day to day lives. Such visits also expose the students to the importance of technology through sessions of telepresence/video conferencing with scientists from other parts of the world and demonstrations.

    Thinking as Scientists and Engineers:

    The final part of the camp focuses on the ability of the mentored students to think as scientists, technologists/engineers by focusing on societal problems and coming up with scientific, technological and engineering solutions

    Tracking the Impact:

    To assess the impact of the STEM Mentorship programme, the participating schools are requested to track the performance of those students who have been mentored. The mentors, some of whom are also lecturers in the Universities monitor the admissions to see how many of the mentored students are admitted in the different STEM courses, and are also expected to analyse the admissions for indication of an increase in enrolment. An online tracking tool has been developed to facilitate the tracking process of the mentored students at different levels of education.

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    Technological gaps will keep on growing between developed and developing countries as long as new approaches are not adopted in the teaching of STEM in primary and secondary schools. Most Kenyan secondary schools laboratories are ill- equipped for students to carry out experiments; thus they perceive sciences as dull, theoretical and abstract. They fail to relate what they are taught with its application in the real world. Science will remain an abstract pursuit to learners so long as they are not exposed to its real application in their daily lives. Technology will never be appropriate if students are not afforded means of contextualizing it –this should earnestly begin in our laboratories.

    - Prof. Shem Wandiga, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nairobi

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