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‘Zim must invest in STEM education’

Bulawayo Provincial Education Director (PED) Olicah Kaira says it is important to invest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education as part of efforts to provide solutions to the country`s challenges.

Her sentiments came out during the African Code Challenge 2020 virtual awards held on Tuesday in Bulawayo, an event coordinated by Girls in STEM Trust in partnership with SAP, UNESCO, Irish Aid and Youth Mobile under the theme, ‘Courageous coders: How will your technology change the future of education.’

The African Code Challenge is a pan African coding challenge for young coders aged between 8-16years in any of the 54 African countries.

“As a nation and as a people, we are facing numerous threats, the likes of which humankind has never seen, from antibiotics, resistant pathogens and viruses to climate change affecting our very existence as the human race,” said Kaira.

“We are going to need the brain power of the next generation to fix the mistakes of the past and we must ensure that students from all backgrounds are given the chance to contribute, Diversity in Science and Technology leads to diversity in solutions.”

The PED said there is a need to provide a conducive environment and continue to invest in Science and Technology.

“And when these solutions emerge, we need to celebrate them as a nation and provide a conducive environment for our future technology experts to do what their predecessors did, believe in Science and Technology, use science and technology and continue to invest in science and technology,” She said.

“The beauty of investing in science and technology is that it guarantees economic success.This is and has always been the primary focus of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary schools education in as far as STEM education is concerned and we will continue to support initiatives in our community that encourage this.”

Kaira added: “So, as we celebrate the winners as well as all the participants of the African Code Challenge for 2020, do not let the messages you will hear today fade away. Support the work being done by Girls in STEM Trust and their partners, constantly tell them to stand up for science and technology and to support our youth and in particular our young women and girls on their quest to use science and technology to help us  build our nation now and in the future,” she said.

The top three winners was Kesley Gumbo a 10-year-old from St Patricks Primary School in Bulawayo who took first place, second place went to Grace Mherembi aged 15 years old from Founders High School while the third place was awarded to John Chimhanda aged 13 years from Nyanga Marist Brothers High.

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