A groundbreaking initiative, aimed at nurturing the future innovators of Namibia, concluded recently.
The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Namibia – Angola (KAS) and the Tucsin University Centre for Studies, in collaboration with Robotschool, completed this innovative nine-month programme to offer fully-funded Steam education to young learners between the ages of 11 and 14.
The programme kicked off in May 2023, with 21 very motivated youngsters embarking on a transformative journey into the world of robotics and technology.
Steam, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, is an interdisciplinary approach to education that equips students with a holistic skill set that is necessary to thrive in the ever-evolving world of technology. This unique and tailor-made programme provides young Namibian minds with the chance to learn and embrace innovation, creativity and lifelong learning while emphasising the importance of essential skills. The hub of this initiative was the Robotschool facility, located in Windhoek. The students converged weekly, participating in a carefully curated curriculum designed to ignite their passion for technology and robotics.
The programme allowed the budding engineers to design and build robots, employing sensors to address real-life challenges. The other focus of the programme was to emphasise the importance of imagination, creativity, empathy and social awareness. Furthermore, students were encouraged to develop teamwork and communication skills, a critical facet of 21st-century education. These competencies empower these young Namibians to collaborate effectively, and to contribute to innovative solutions in a rapidly changing world.
It gave them the skills and know-how to compete locally and internationally with their peers, thereby closing the educational divide. The joint project began with a diverse group, comprising 14 girls and seven boys.
Each one of them came with an eagerness and a major interest in the world of technology.
As they started the course, they received expert guidance from educators and mentors, handpicked for their expertise in robotics, technology and education.
Throughout the programme, students had hands-on learning experiences, and they were provided with the necessary resources to broaden their horizons.
Their progress was closely monitored, ensuring they acquired essential knowledge and skills as they worked through various modules tailored to their unique needs and interests. The programme concluded on 6 November, marking the end of an enriching journey for these young engineering enthusiasts, as well as for the teachers and mentors. They gained valuable insights into robotics and technology. Through collaboration and working as teams, they realised they now had skills that could help them make a difference in the world through their innovative ideas.
Upon reflection, this pioneering initiative underscores the importance of investing in the education of the youth.
By providing local opportunities for young Namibians to explore the world of robotics and technology, the programme has equipped them with vital skills.
It has also made them realise the potential that they have within them, and that nothing is out of reach with the right basis.
It has given these budding engineers the desire to continue to innovate and develop their creativity, giving them a lifelong love for learning. As we look forward to the next generation of innovators, this initial project serves as a testament and reminder of the potential that can be unlocked when we invest in education and nurture the dreams of our youth – at the same time uplifting the education sector in Namibia by providing skilled youth and reducing the country’s high unemployment rate.
Namibia’s future shines brighter with each young mind inspired to create and innovate.