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The association of Young Scientists in Kenya (YSK) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and the Embassy of Ireland, alongside BLAZE has officially launched the second National Science and Technology Exhibition 2019, slating it on the 6th through 9th August.
The annual exhibition on the second year running is expected to host over 500 students from across Kenya, a markup from last year’s 160 students who presented 92 projects.
“This year, the Young Scientists Kenya team visited over 200 schools in all the 47 Counties, reaching over 40,000 students, courtesy of the STEM high school outreach program sponsored by BLAZE by Safaricom. We saw a lot of talent and hard work in some of the remotest parts of Kenya so the exhibition will be very competitive,” said Prof. John Tony Scott, Young Scientist and Technology Co-Founder.
The expanded high school outreach was a response to a challenge from YSK Patron H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta during the inaugural Exhibition last year, where he tasked the YSK organising team to roll out the program across the country as part of a national effort to make Kenya a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“As a scientist, I am proud to be part of a program that exposes young Kenyans to the endless possibilities that science and innovation can open up for our country. I look forward to seeing the projects on display and catching up on the latest science concepts from budding scientists,” said Prof. George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
The National Exhibition is part of the YSK mandate to spur innovation among students in Kenya. This effort complements that of the Ministry of Education, which holds the annual Secondary Schools Science Congress, now known as Kenya Science and Engineering Fair (KSEF).
“The outreach programme is crucial to achieving the Big 4 Agenda, which is only possible if the youth embrace Science, Technology and Innovation and connect with the STEM ecosystem,” said Dr. Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Education, State Department of Vocational and Technical Training and Chairperson of the YSK Board.
H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected officiate the opening of the exhibition, alongside other dignitaries. The award ceremony will then be held on 9th August with winners walking away with KES 100,000 and a trip to Ireland to participate in the BT-Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) in January 2020.
“Young Scientists Ireland has been running for more than 50 years and has helped transform Ireland into a knowledge-based economy and a leader in innovation. We are delighted to share our experience with Kenya, help embed STEM skills in schools and contribute to building the country’s vibrant innovation culture,” said Fionnuala Quinlan, Ambassador of Ireland to Kenya.
With this year’s theme; Making STEM education accessible to all, YSK has since March, been conducting outreach activities in secondary schools around the country aimed at engaging students to take up STEM courses.
“Our continued investment in innovation and research is driven by the fact that as a telecommunications company, our growth and survival is primarily based on those two things. By partnering with YSK, we aim to ease access to quality education and make STEM courses “cool” for young people to pursue,” said Michael Joseph, Safaricom CEO.
BLAZE has sponsored the high school outreach programme and national exhibition to a tune of KES 45 million in cash and kind, which is in line with Safaricom’s commitment to the sustainable development goals.
In 2018, Wilson Irungu and Abdulrahman Sheikh Ali from Nakuru High School were the winners of the science contest with a revolutionary Internet-based energy monitoring and audit system concept.
As a result of their victory, Irungu and Ali got a chance to go on a fully paid trip to Ireland to participate in the BT-Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition between 9th and 12th January 2019.