The Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. George Magoha has today during the 2019 Media launch of the Young Scientists Kenya (YSK) said that Projects in the YSK support the governments Big 4 Agenda.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Secretary (PS) State Department of Vocational Technical and Training, Kevit Desai, Magoha explained that the YSK programmes will help researchers generate the best way to harness technology in the realization of food security through agriculture, universal healthcare and housing.
“If these YSK programmes are properly implemented, they will lead to realization of 10 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) out of the 17 that are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all,” he added.
Prof. Magoha said that his Ministry and Blaze by Safaricom, are working together with the government of Ireland which formed YSK to inspire students to pursue Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses through outreach, linkages and extension programmes and a platform in which students will showcase their scientific research, technologies and innovations.
The Education boss further said that the YSK Science and Technology Exhibition is the premier platform that brings together winners of all STEM competitions together and provide linkages with the private sector for commercialization of some of the viable projects.
“The Ministry’s involvement in YSK exhibitions mirrors the government’s efforts to invest in the uptake of STEM Subjects across the country, through the roll out of STEM model schools in all the 47 counties,” he said.
He added that YSK will also create linkages and opportunities for partnership with academia, government, private sector and non-state actors to further enhance the uptake of STEM as well as investment in and commercialization of their projects.
The YSK STEM exhibition according to the CS is in line with the ministry’s policy to broaden access to quality education and to invest in making STEM subjects accessible, relevant and attractive to all students particularly girls.
“Past data indicates that the percentage of girls who choose to study STEM subjects in higher education ranges between 25 to 30 percent compared to 45 to 55 percent of boys yet girls have the capacity and qualifications,” he noted.
Prof. Magoha further said that there has been a rise in the number of students enrolling for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and agriculture courses compared to other courses in the year 2019.
The Ambassador of Ireland to Kenya, Fionella Quinlan said she was delighted to share their YSK experience with Kenya.
“We as the government of Ireland are delighted to involve Kenya to help embed STEM skills in schools and contribute to building the country’s vibrant innovation culture,” said the ambassador.
The YSK National Director, Collins Munene said that they are hoping to reach all the 47 counties and a total of 185 schools in the year 2019 as compared to the 10 counties they involved in 2018.
The Safaricom Director, Consumer Business Unit, Charles Kare said that their partnership with YSK is aimed to ease access to quality education and make STEM ‘cool’ for young people to pursue.
Through annual exhibitions, Young Scientists Kenya will help to popularize science and technology amongst young people and encourage them to develop projects that seek practical solutions to the problems we face within the society.
By Gloria Chebet/Mercy Shirim/Joseph Ng’ang’a