There are very many national Science and Engineering Fairs in Kenya among them the 57 years old Kenya Science and Engineering Fair (KSEF), National Science and Technology Exhibitions by the Young Scientist Kenya (YSK), Innovate Challenge by the Global Minimum Inc, Junior Achievers, newly introduced speed test by SPAK, to mention a few. All these competitions target students in high schools and tertiary institutions, there is none for learners at the elementary level.
Recently, KSEF and the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) launched the first local robotics challenge for STEM Model Schools. The competitions elicited huge cries of exclusion from non-STEM schools especially the top national and private schools. Unless other stakeholders such as MUSPPA2STEM are actively involved it will be a huge challenge for the two institutions (KSEF & CEMASTEA) to run an inclusive robotics challenge.
Therefore, MUSPPA2STEM has embarked on process of mobilizing stakeholders to consider supporting “Invention Challenge” for primary schools. Next year, 2020, MUSPPA2STEM will partner with the Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC), the Lemelson Foundation, Kenya Primary School Heads Association ( Kangema Branch), Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC), Ministry of Education to pilot the challenge in 43 primary schools in Kangema Sub County, Murang’a County.
To ensure continuity in the robotics challenges in high schools next year 2020 and years after MUSPPA2STEM will organise a Premier Robotic Challenge between May and July 2020. This will be an inclusive challenge for all schools (STEM & non-STEM, private or public) using any type of programmable brick. The competition will be in two levels basic and advanced. Ten Top Schools in the KSEF/CEMASTEA competition will be encouraged to join in the advanced level.
Top teams in the Invention Challenge and the MUSPPA2STEM Robotic Challenge will be supported to join International Competition. The top learners in the Invention Challenge will be supported to attend the International Invention Competition in Singapore next 2020. On the other hand the top school for the Advanced or Premier Robotics Challenge will participate in the Robotics Olympiad, in the United States of America.
In a nutshell, MUSPPA2STEM supports existing science and engineering fairs and ignites where its missing.