STEM key in unlocking socio-economic challenges, GE says

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STEM Education. PHOTO/COURTESY: The Warren Centre

General Electric (GE) and Young Scientists Kenya have underscored the importance of sensitizing male and female secondary school students on the benefits of taking up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses.

According to the two firms, studies and careers in the aforementioned areas are becoming increasingly vital in preparing students to develop innovative solutions that will better society in varying sectors.

 “These courses are important today with technology and innovation continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives. At GE, we find it vital to expose students to our facilities and teams working in STEM related roles across our Healthcare, Power and Aviation businesses,” said Ms. Brenda Mbathi, General Electric’s Women’s Network Leader for East Africa, during a master class organized by the two firms in Nairobi on Tuesday.

According to statistics from the Bureau of Labour, 58 per cent of all new STEM jobs are in computing. Yet in Africa, less than two percent of students under eighteen years of age finish school with vital skills. The gap is even greater among underserved and underrepresented communities more so among young girls. 

Ms. Mbathi’s sentiments were shared by Mr. Michael Waiyaki, the Acting National Programmes and Partnerships Director at Young Scientists of Kenya, who believes that partnerships are vital in promoting STEM initiatives among the youth.

 “We continue to develop STEM communities of practice through partnerships with the Government, academia and private sector because we hope to see more related subjects entrenched in institutions of learning across the country,” Mr. Waiyaki explained.

As part of its ongoing commitment to increase gender representation in technical programs, General Electric launched GE Girls initiative; designed to encourage girls to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and math. In Kenya GE has had initiatives with Starehe Girls, SHOFCO, Kabuku, Kinoo, Safe Spaces, Young Scientists Kenya, among other institutions.

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