Nairobi News


First of its kind Virtual STEM Lab rolled out

Nairobi Primary School has rolled out a Virtual STEM Lab that will allow learners and teachers to navigate the curriculum using digital tools in line with the evolving world.

This is a new concept in the digital learning environment for students, as it is designed to support the teaching and learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

During the roll out exercise on Friday, the project developers said it is the first of its kind in the African region and is targeting many learners not only in Nairobi Primary School but even across the region.

The project is sponsored by the school’s alumni and partners that include Google, ACAT and Intel.

In his address, Google Public for Affairs for Sub-Saharan Africa Officer Mr Alex Nyingi said the project will bridge the gap in access to education as those who are in remote areas will be able to access materials used by schools in Nairobi through the lab.

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Through the project, learners will be able to stimulate any kind of experiment and a single teacher for a particular subject will be able to teach learners across the country and region.

The project, which is a test case for Africa, is being carried out at Nairobi Primary School because of its strategic location and previous innovations.

The school also benefited from the previous government’s laptop project, which aimed to provide learning devices for primary school pupils but it failed.

CEMASTEA Chief Officer Mrs Jacinta Akatsa, section of board members and project partners monitoring learners during the Virtual STEM Lab showcase at Nairobi Primary School on June 23, 2023. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI

“It’s not so much about the need to build infrastructure, it’s not so much about having the latest technology, it’s mainly about somebody having a device, even a mobile phone, that can actually simulate the same kind of experience,” Nyingi said.

On the issue of internet connectivity and access, the Google representative said part of their project is to work with the government to connect schools to the government’s fibre optic cables.

“Part of the vision for us is also to use the platform that we have to challenge the government in terms of models that we can do to enable that last mile connectivity.”

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Speaking on behalf of Education Principal Secretary, Dr Belio Kipsang, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) Chief Officer Mrs Jacinta Akatsa commended the partners for the project and said the government was ready to connect more schools to the programme.

Mrs Akatsa said with the technology, students will be able to continue learning new concepts and facilitate deeper knowledge beyond the classroom.

The school said the project is open for other schools to benefit from, and have welcomed them to seek connection with them to have access to the simulated experiments.

According to the school’s PTA chairman Mr Walter Namasake, a single teacher can use the project to reach several learners or more than one classroom at a time.

“The project is transformative for the school, it is an opportunity for our children to be at the forefront of these new digital technologies,” said Mr Namasake.

The project will also reduce the cost of buying books, laboratory chemicals and samples, as every item will be available in the system.

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