Safaricom has partnered with UNESCO, and Eneza Education to implement a digital mentorship programme for high school students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The program involves working with role models and mentors to provide students with information on STEM subjects to enable them to make informed career choices. Learners will get a chance to engage with tutors through programs on local TV and community radio stations as well as through SMS via the shortcode 40291.
Safaricom’s CEO, Peter Ndegwa said that they were implementing lessons picked during this COVID-19 pandemic to partner with other organisations to provide meaningful solutions for customers via alternative channels. For this digital programme they are using the partnership with Eneza’s Shupavu 291 solution to give students access to mentors and information on STEM subjects via SMS.
Over 40 radio stations and a local TV channel will air the live shows during which students will be encouraged to send questions via SMS to 40291. The mentors and facilitators of the show will then send responses to each question as they engage the learners. The programme will run for the next 11 weeks.
“We believe that this will keep students connected to STEM in the face of this global pandemic irrespective of their gender and socio-economic backgrounds,” said Wambura Kimunyu., CEO, Eneza Education.
“Through this project, we hope learners will be able to nurture interest in STEM through the linkage between them and the role models in the STEM profession, through online interaction and the continual access to mentorship services. During this period of containment, UNESCO has partnered with the Ministry of Education, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) and Safaricom to provide students with information on STEM Education and life and survival skills to enable then overcome gender stereotypes about STEM careers, hence developing interest in science-related subjects while learning from home,” said Mrs. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Regional Director, UNESCO.
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Statistics show that only 22% of all students who are enrolled in Kenyan universities are in STEM fields despite a large number of related programmes on offer and the critical role they play in development.