Frank Tamre, a 29-year-old techpreneur based in Nairobi Kenya and well known for co-founding Kenyan based coding academy, Moringa School alongside Audrey Cheng is working on something new months after quitting Moringa School.
The mentor at Strathmore’s Ibiz labs incubator and Business Daily’s Top 40 under 40 Kenyan left Moringa to start EarlyCamp, a kids code training academy.
According to Tamre, Early Camp is typically a coding school for kids as young as 7 –years old. “At Early Camp we aim to tap into the potential of children,” he explained to TechMoran, “our current education system tries to encourage entrepreneurship in children at college level by this time it is already too late, one has already developed their own value systems. It is different with children, as their minds are eager and naturally set up for learning: they say the freshly hatched snake is the one most likely to bite.”
He draws this reference from mother nature, where a newly hatched snake’s only knowledge is its possession of fangs but does not know to use them only when in duress or hunting prey, and hence will bite onto anything with little to no provocation.
“At Early Camp we take advantage of this nature of children. We teach more than just programming. They know from the start that a lot is expected of them and develop their own value systems. One kid once said ‘lazy people are our enemies,’ this shows that what we are teaching them stays with them for longer than few hours we are with them,” he said.
“We engage the children in development of the curriculum, which is flexible based on the child’s interests and aptitude. We give a weekly and termly report to the parents about their child’s performance and advise them on what to do based on the child’s best interests.”
The programme currently teaches programming but has plans to venture into other technical fields in the future.
At the moment, the school is mainly doing programming courses for 15 kids, but will soon venture into other spaces such as engineering among others.
“This is all possible, the challenge is keeping it all low cost. The kids are putting their trust in the school and it cannot break that trust on the basis of money. However, payment is required as the infrastructure the firm is using requires financing.
“We envision a place where we promote African technology, by using Kenyan made, custom kits to teach engineering fundamentals to children. We may also develop material for other people to use with their children at home. Perhaps even a kids’ TV show dedicated to technology, who knows,” he told TechMoran.
The programme being only once a week, has to find a way to keep the children occupied through the week, “We give the kids practice work for the week,” explained Tamre, “we’ve named it so to differentiate it from home work given at their ordinary schools, to which most have already formed attitudes against. We have introduced the element of choice. The kids love it so much, some even come home from church and school to do it as pass times.
” In order to ensure proper learning, Early Camp has also prepared a guide for parents to teach themselves at home, so that they are able to help their children with their practice work.We are still experimenting and learning ourselves but we are working towards something bigger, better and different, and instilling stronger foundations in or young ones,” concluded Tamre.
Early Camp at the moment happens every Saturday from 9.00a.m to noon at Nailab. Applications for the next term are ongoing and interested parents can apply at [email protected].
Tamre, who dropped out of school thrice, despite his parents’ frantic efforts to reign him back in says education is important. The big question is, in light of his success as a drop out, should entrepreneurs follow his example and drop out to focus on their ventures as well? “Well, I do admit it is ironical, but no, I do not encourage people to drop out,” begun Tamre, “School is important, for papers and so much more. However, I would like to stay and figure out what their purpose is and work towards it. They should schedule their lives in a manner that accommodates both. It is my calling to improve the capacity of anyone I interact with, which I do through teaching,” he added, “it is one’s personal responsibility to unlearn what they already know, and install new value system, the institution is not in charge of that.”