A national competition for public and private Kenyan secondary schools will give a Ksh1.5 million scholarship with a special interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The 1st and 2nd runners up will get Ksh 750,000 and Ksh 150,000 respectively and a laptop each.
The competition, dubbed InterswitchSPAK, was announced Wednesday through a partnership between the Ministry of Education, UNESCO, NACOSTI, key stakeholders and integrated electronic payments and commerce company Interswitch.
InterswitchSPAK competition gives secondary schools in the 47 counties a chance to nominate their best six Form 3 STEM students for the competition.
The competition has been initiated amidst concerns that the quality of STEM education across Africa has steadily and gradually declined over the last few years.
“Research has it that in the next 10 -20 years most of the jobs available will have STEM integrated into them. So, for us at Interswitch, we began to ask the question: is Kenya ready for this, is the African continent ready for this? said Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Interswitch.
“In answering this question, we realized that we must nurture and mold the students who are already studying STEM subjects, while also inspiring others to take up STEM subjects as they come of age.
NACOSTI Director-General Dr. Moses Rugutt said the competition will be an annual event with a key message of raising the interest of students, parents, teachers and other key stakeholders in STEM education and its application in Kenya.
“The STEM programme will by increasing the number of students interested in STEM subjects address national development objectives and challenges that require scientific skills to resolve,” Dr. Rugutt said.
The UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa representative Dr. Alice Ochanda said that in promoting the various opportunities for sound education for the Kenyan students especially as it relates to STEM, InterswitchSPAK is being introduced predominantly for high school students to chart the ideal career path and drive them towards full optimization of their potential and fulfillment of their dreams (either as an inventor or entrepreneur), thereby making Kenya and the world at large a better place to live in.
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InterswitchSPAK Competition Rules and Regulation
- The year-long programme targets to online-register at least 12,000 students across the country in a period of six weeks.
- Students must be aged between 15 and 18 years of age at the time of submission.
- National qualifying contest to be held in about 50 centers countrywide to determine the best 54 students who will proceed to the next round.
- Students selected will compete in the InterswitchSPAK Kenya 1.0 – National TV Quiz show to pick the top nine STEM students in Kenya.