Young Scientists Tanzania ignites science culture in secondary schools

IN Tanzania, interest and engagement with the transformative power of Science and Technology is experiencing a steady surge. It is captivating the imagination and enthusiasm of the nation’s young minds who are brimming creative research and innovations.

At the forefront of this movement is Young Scientists Tanzania (YST), a non-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering a deep appreciation for science among the country’s youth and empowering them to become innovative problem solvers.

Since its inception in 2011, YST has been working tirelessly to equip secondary students with scientific knowledge and innovation skills. This approach enables the students to undertake meaningful scientific research aimed at addressing societal challenges.

Their mission aligns seamlessly with the government’s initiative to enhance science education for secondary students. To achieve this, YST focuses on coaching science teachers, enabling them to deliver practical science education effectively.

Through their national science outreach program, YST imparts essential scientific knowledge and skills to both students and teachers, enriching the annual YST Exhibition.

Generously supported by the Karimjee Foundation (KF), YST has succeeded in nurturing students’ curiosity in practical science, providing them with a clear understanding of how science is applied in real-life scenarios.

Co-founder of YST, Joseph Clowry, emphasized that the outreach program plays a crucial role in supporting the government’s drive to enhance science education for secondary students.

“We achieve this by coaching science teachers and empowering them to improve the practical teaching of science subjects,” he explained.

Dr Gozibert Kamugisha, Cofounder Young Scientists Tanzania adds “YST aligns with the Tanzania National Development Plan and the African Union’s Continental Education Strategy Plan (CESA 2015–2025) to expand the reach and comprehension of science among students and teachers.

This commitment to science education has been instrumental in shaping the futures of countless secondary students, instilling in them a passion for research and innovation.

Over the past thirteen years, YST has spearheaded efforts to impart scientific and technological skills to both secondary students and science teachers. The science mentoring program implemented in schools has been exceptionally successful, dramatically increasing students’ interest and enthusiasm for science.

“We have chosen to invest in the knowledge and skills of our youth because we believe they possess the intelligence and creativity to use technology to develop practical, solution-oriented projects,” Dr Brendan Doggett, YST Science Advisor added.

Through the program, numerous youths have received university scholarships, cash prizes, and trophies as incentives to pursue careers in science. YST Project Manager, Nabil Karatela emphasized that the capacity-building workshops for both teachers and students have given rise to a wave of innovative ideas, resulting in tangible science-based research that can offer practical solutions to real-world problems.

YST’s dedication to promoting practical science not only benefits teachers and students but also contributes significantly to Tanzania’s overall scientific and technological advancement.

Caren Rowland, Executive Officer for the Karimjee Foundation, underscored the Foundation’s commitment to supporting efforts that prepare young people to become the future scientists who will drive economic development in Tanzania.

The Karimjee Foundation firmly believes that science is a fundamental component of economic growth and that YST’s program plays a pivotal role in nurturing the scientific talents of Tanzania’s youth.

“We are delighted to be part of this initiative to cultivate and nurture the talents of Tanzania’s future scientists who will play a significant role in influencing the industrial revolution and the economy as a whole,” she said adding that, through the program, the Karimjee Foundation has supported 41 science students as of 2022 who have created impactful science projects, providing them with university scholarships to help them develop their talents and benefit from them.

The Karimjee Foundation is dedicated to laying a strong educational foundation for Tanzania’s youth, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Their vision is to empower the younger generation to use science and technology to innovate solutions to the existing challenges in their society and the nation as a whole.

This year, the YST program will feature a selection of outstanding science projects developed by secondary students from all corners of the country.

These remarkable projects will take center stage at the Annual Science Exhibition, set to unfold in Dar es Salaam. The projects will span various categories, including Physical, Chemical, and Mathematical Sciences, Technology & Computer Sciences, Climate Change and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

As the days draw closer to the eagerly anticipated 13th Annual National Science & Technology Exhibition, scheduled for December 7th at the prestigious Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam, the excitement among students continues to soar.

This grand event will provide a platform for secondary students from all over the country to showcase their scientific research endeavors, aimed at finding solutions to pressing social and economic challenges within their communities.

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