Aimed at international organisations, national governments and education institutions, the Planet Earth Institute visual essay has been created in cooperation with The Engineering Lab Africa (The E-Lab) to showcase STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at its best.
From its base in Nairobi, Kenya, the E-Lab runs numerous education programmes aimed at primary and secondary school children across Africa. Students, aged between 6-18 participate in a host of activities aimed at improving their knowledge of STEM in preparation for entering an industrialised, knowledge based economy when they graduate.
A report by the Planet Earth Institute on the visual essay suggests, “Africa has the potential to transform into a high-tech industrialised economy in the next 10 – 15 years”. But, the report continues, a lot of groundwork must be done before this prediction can be fully realised. It is important, argues the report, that Africa creates an environment that will encourage the huge number of young people on the continent to become innovative, creative and technologically equipped.
The E-Lab offers students the chance to learning programming, engage with technology in a practical way, and develop their critical thinking, communication skills, learn to collaborate with others and express creativity. The E-Lab believes these attributes are essential in a 21st context. It is best, the E-Lab continues, to introduce children to this activities from a young age when they are more likely to express interest and continue with similar activities into the future.
The Planet Earth Institute, led by Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, has been pushing STEM education in Africa as a solution to the continents development and economic challenges.