EADB in partnership with the African-American Institute has created the STEM scholarship to give skilled teachers working in public teaching institutions an opportunity to advance their knowledge in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The STEM Scholars, Edward Mureka, (Kenya), Barnabas Wafula, (Kenya), Akuom Denish (Kenya), Chris Mbae, (Kenya) and Miriam Kabagorobya (Uganda), will pursue graduate degrees in these fields in the United States at Rutgers University a world-class university.
The five recipients underwent a rigorous selection process that saw them beat close to 300 other applicants They are university graduates having received First Class or Upper Second Honors Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics, Sciences or Engineering and have been working full time in public and government owned educational institutions.
The EADB STEM education program is one of the initiatives launched by EADB after careful study in the region and recommendations therefrom. There is a significant emphasis by governments in the region in the past 20 years towards free primary education (UPE). Science, Engineering, and Technology is one area that the research pointed out was lagging behind in education investments.
‘’The STEM scholarship, therefore, aims to maximize the impact of EADB’s investment into the higher education sector by granting scholarships to accomplished lecturers who have agreed to return to their East African universities and continue teaching after they have received their graduate degree at Rutgers University. The fully-funded EADB graduate level scholarships will provide full tuition, room, and living expenses within a stipulated budget.’’ Said, EADB, Director General, Vivienne Yeda.
The program comes in the wake of concerns over only 27 per cent of University students are pursuing STEM related careers in Kenyan universities and the region, providing challenges in propelling the region into becoming a middle-level knowledge driven economy.
“While education remains overall core responsibility of governments and their development partners, in recent years there have been various deliberate government policies towards addressing the numerous challenges experienced in the education sector in the region. We believe part of the intervention is to encourage young people to participate and be involved. We believe there is no single magic bullet to addressing the challenges in the education sector. It will be a concerted effort by all the players working in a synchronized way,” Noted Vivienne Yeda.
In the 21st century, critical thinking will shape the future of innovation in the region. The EADB/AAI STEM initiative is an integral part of total support to governments initiatives towards improving education systems, strengthening innovations geared towards a vision of achieving all-round sustainable development in the East African region.