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Nova Pioneer wants to equip students for success in the 21st Century through technology

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Kenya’s Nova Pioneer aims to equip students for success in the 21st Century through technology. Kenneth Mungai Gachango, a 27 year old graduate of Telecommunications and Information Engineering from J.K.U.A.T, and the Tech Educator at Nova Pioneers Boys Secondary School.

Ken took us through Nova Pioneer’s plan for education in Africa and their latest tech programmes for their students.

Nova Pioneer’s mission is to equip students for success in the 21st Century through technology, global exposure etc. How is this achieved?
Nova Pioneer group of schools was established with the aim of nurturing Innovators and Leaders for the 21st Century. Students are taken through the 8-4-4 system here in Kenya but with an improved and modern way of delivering the curriculum. Students are also taken through intense Innovation programs which run weekly so as to develop their mindsets to innovate solutions to 21st century problems. Through Innovation and Tech Club also, which run separately during the week, students have a chance to build on their imaginations, not to forget the girls who are participating in “Women in Technology” sessions.

What is their daily schedule like? When do they practice code, or what they learned? Every afternoon, weekly? Weekend assignments?
Programming lessons are part and parcel of the curriculum from Form 1. Thus, within class and through clubs, the students develop their coding skills.

Each kids gets a laptop or are they shared? For keeps or are they school property?
Every child is accorded an individual laptop. The school has a policy of how they are maintained and kept safely.

Do all the kids learn all the extra curricular of do they select what most interests them.
It starts with all the kids learning the fundamentals, especially through Innovation Saturdays programs. Then, the students are free to develop and build on their personal ideas during the week.

Recently a team won a juniors award at Jkuat tech expo 8. What were their innovations? Did they build them on their own or not? Who guided the process? Business training etc? Seeing as they had written a comprehensive business plan.
We had 3 projects for show. The one that won, Stagchat Studios was developed by the students themselves and has a patent. The App seeks to enable young people learn in a more fun and interactive away as well as create a social platform to connect with Educators and “subject-peers” around the globe. I led them through Android Development and entrepreneurship sessions so as to help them know how to take care of their business financials.

They participate in Virtual labs and play games. When is this done?
Students in my tutelage create games, others play

Only boys showed up for the expo, where are the girl innovators? Do they get the same exposure to technology?
Girls have a really nice exposure to Technology and are evident in other events. Since this year’s notice was kind of “sudden”, they were not aware. But come next year, we plan to bring in the full calvary.

Exchange programs to Silicon Valley and Taiwan? Or how use is global exposure achieved?
Most students gain exposure from the competitions they win. For the larger student body, the school has a team of Partners creating connections for the students especially for College preperations.

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