Youths at fever pitch as multidisciplinary tech programme nears

March 15 is launching date for National Coding Competition

Enthusiastic Guyanese youths will soon have a chance to participate in a highly anticipated national multidisciplinary technology programme which will aid the development of their critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and technology skills while they have fun, learn to work together, resolve conflicts and win fun prizes.

STEMGuyana representatives have been collaborating with representatives of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, Ministry of Education, NCERD Science and the Department of Climate Change, to rollout a national STEM programme for students in after-school programmes, church organizations, and other community youth organizations.

There is perhaps no more important a mission in Guyana than the early education of her youths. Guyana cannot afford her young people disliking mathematics or science at any level of schooling. The world has changed significantly, and Guyanese stakeholders – parents, teachers, tutors, educational service providers, and policy leaders – must re-imagine education, or risk sacrificing entire generations of youths.
Primary school children will grow up in a more prosperous Guyana that will require them to exercise their creativity as well as technical and scientific knowledge to benefit from job opportunities in nearly all sectors.
STEMGuyana has designed a national programme to replicate many which are already used around the world, to successfully engage students in STEM disciplines in fun and exciting ways.
Nearly every country in the world is working to prepare their young people for any version of a future intensely characterised and driven by technology. Today, educators in the West and all across other developing countries are implementing technology programmes aimed at engaging students.

Two young enthusiasts at Lusignan-Good Hope Learning Centre
Two young enthusiasts at Lusignan-Good Hope Learning Centre

In Kerala, India, stakeholders recently trained sixty thousand young ambassadors in Scratch programming and computational thinking, and expect them to influence nearly one million other young students. Various African education stakeholders are exposing their young students to fun technology tools, aimed at capturing their imaginations and interesting them in STEM careers.
STEMGuyana has joined the global fray with a thrust supported by the President and First Lady, the Ministry of the Presidency, and several other public and private agencies and individuals, both locally and in the diaspora.
The collaboration will launch not one, but two national technology competitive leagues, targeting primary and secondary school students. The leagues will organize an annual national competition in Scratch coding and Lego Robotics, and will engage young Guyanese students in programmes which will teach coding skills, computational thinking, and logical reasoning, while giving them an opportunity to exercise their creative skills and innovative talents. Fifty coaches have already been trained and some young students are already learning to code using MIT Scratch programming.
The leagues will organize participants in competitions among NDCs and regions, and will then declare national winners. The league will release weekly challenges created by the Ministry of Education to mirror current school curricula in Science and even Social Studies.
Students across Guyana with internet access will work online to advance their teams to the nationals. Currently, although countries like the USA host local and even regional competitions, only two other countries in the world have implemented national coding leagues: Ireland and Qatar. Guyana will be the third country in the world to implement a national technology programme of this sort.

Students From The Deaf Association, Inc. learning to code, using MIT Scratch
Students From The Deaf Association, Inc. learning to code, using MIT Scratch

Students will receive certificates and prizes, with the national winners receiving coveted electronic prizes like cell phones and laptops. Winners will also get a chance to represent Guyana at the Caribbean National Scratch Programming Championship planned for December 2018. Student participants are expected not only to benefit academically, but the nature of the competition will require them to be artistic, and innovative while developing their coding and other technical skills.
On February 1st through 3rd 2018, more than fifty potential STEM club coaches representing nearly twenty-four teams were trained in the areas of robot building and Scratch Programming, launching a culture of innovation within clubs, and navigating the league’s IT platform.
More than twenty teams representing more than five regions in Guyana will participate in the pilot programme. Bartica alone sent thirteen teachers to be trained, and will have two secondary schools represented in the competition. Bartica will launch their participation in the national programme with activities planned for Tuesday (February 27) at 10:00 hrs at Three Miles Secondary School.
The national league will launch just over a fortnight later on Thursday, March 15, 2018 and organizers are encouraging more schools, clubs and community organizations to field teams and come aboard. The league collaboration will host one more coach training seminar before competition begins. The league registration form can be found on the STEMGuyana website ( or Facebook page.

Source: Kaieteur News

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