▸ STEM Centers are specialized learning facilities that offer hands-on engineering lab experience to local-area students. Students voluntarily and eagerly enroll at into various age-appropriate programs offered by the STEM Centers, at no cost to the students. Lab mentors guide the students, using modern scientific equipment in a comfortable setting. The Centers also serve as venues for local gatherings and regional Science Fairs.
Most Ethiopian STEM Centers are located near or on a university campus. They each become a university asset. That ownership nurtures strong university-community bonding, provides academic oversight, and solves the question of sustainability.
The larger STEM Centers are eco-friendly buildings of varying configurations for labs, offices, storage, and an auditorium for science fairs and community meetings.
In 2009, our founders constructed the first STEM Center, located in the Foka area of Bishoftu industrial city and then many more.
Today, 22 STEM Centers are operating in every regional state across the nation. Many organizations and governments tell us that they think of us as a force for national peace and development.
Ahead, STEMpower is establishing more STEM Centers, as well as developing new hands-on engineering curricula.
▸ STEMpower wants to reach every student in Ethiopia, a nation of 120 million citizens. So we've created a weekly "STEM TV Series" science show that can be viewed by a huge audience that may not have access to the Internet, but at least has home or community access to a TV satellite dish.
With that aim in mind, STEMpower broadcasts our weekly "STEM-TV Series" via Walta satellite. Our TV show is produced entirely within Ethiopia, in the national language Amharic, to encourage all students to become engaged in STEM thinking and possibilities.
The broadcaster estimates that 5 million viewers tune in to our regularly-scheduled Saturday dinnertime broadcasts. We confidently aver that huge numbers of students, and their families, are inspired across the nation.
Click here to watch the shows, which we've subtitled in English to appeal to an international audience.
Virtual Computer Labs
▸ A modern computer can be configured to host a Virtual Computer Lab accommodating ~20 student workstations.
In virtual computer labs, rather than one computer per student, each student's workstation (keyboard, mouse, and display monitor) is connected to a miniature energy-efficient computer, known as a "thin client". The ~20 thin clients are then networked to a single central ample host computer, which runs a special approved operating system.
Each student workstation acts as if there is a real computer there to perform the workstation's computer tasks, but in reality there's no computer at the workstations! The "virtual computer" arrangement saves large amounts of electricity, lessens the need to install heavy gauge wiring in school buildings, generates much less heat, and even prevents computer virus infection. A "green" solution that offers great benefits.
Moreover, we are proud that we have successfuly transferred the installation and operating knowledge to groups of local implementers, in a process known as "training the trainers". Such success has encouraged high-level Ethiopian stakeholders to confidently change from the old idea of "one-physical-computer-per-student". As of this writing, there are well over 75 successful virtual computer lab implementations across the Ethiopia. Governments and universities now regularly implement new efficient virtual computer labs.
Science Shared Campus
▸ STEMpower aims for superior science education and lab experience at public schools, especially to address the special needs of high-achieving students. Our founders solved this challenge at large municipalities' high schools, through a concept we call "Shared Science Campus" (abreviated as "SSC"). The concept was inspired by the Hemda science high school in Tel Aviv and Reisman science high school in Rehovot.
The Ethiopian approach is to first interview and select the most capable students from among 15-25 high schools in a typcal municipal school district. The selected students are then educated at their special science-focused SSC. The SSC offers students a superior teaching staff and an advanced classroom environment, over what is typically found in Ethiopian secondary schools. Interestingly, 60% of the SSC student beneficiaries are female.
The selected public school students have access to ample lab equipment and computer facilities, the science curriculum is deeper and broader, and theory is accompanied by student experiments, research materials, and university visitors.
There are now 4 operating SSC's in Ethiopia (Axum, BahirDar, Hawassa, and Kotebe). instill a rising quality of STEM education across all public high schools in Ethiopia. We expect more SSC's, which will create a rising tide to raise all boats in the nation.
University STEM Outreach
▸ All universities experience a lull during their summer break. During that idle period, STEMpower founders demonstrated how university existing assets (e.g., labs, dormitories, and cafeterias) and available university mentors (professors and college students) could be efficiently utilized to create a University STEM Outreach summer program for hundreds of talented students in the university catchment area (i.e., local community.)
The result and cost-benefit ratio was persuasive. After two years, the Ethiopian Ministry of Education fully incorporated our program, extending it to all public universities in its domain (~40 universities) as as a permanent program run by the government.
During the break, nearly every public university's facilities transform into a large pop-up STEM center. 10,000+ students benefit each year.
▸ Locally-run Science Fairs give students the chance to develop their creative skills and compete with their classmates.
The local Science Fair winners go on to compete in larger Science Fairs, and those winners go on to the Ethiopian National Science Fair.
The Ethiopian Science Fair approach may seem more engineering-oriented than traditional Science Fairs of the developed world. Instead of a hypothesis-experiment-conclusion format, the students participating in an Ethiopian Science Fair tend to design and showcase practical solutions to problems they see facing their nation and their African neighbors.
The community-level Science Fair competitions in Ethiopia are open to students in grades 7-12. At this grass-roots level, a student will discuss their project concept with their local mentor. Mentors are always available through the STEM Centers. Moreover, as the STEM momentum is rapidly expanding across the entire nation, increasing numbers of private and public schools have been also holding their own local Science Fairs and providing mentors.
▸ A Science Museum is a dedicated facility where all members of a community can informally discover science. STEMpower's science museums feature interaction for hands-on scientific discovery in an informal setting.
As of this writing, our founders established two Science Museums in Ethiopia. AASM is sited at the southeastern edge of the capitol city Addis Ababa (on the campus of AASTU), and other museum is sited within Ethiopia's next-largest city Mekele.
Israel’s MadaTech Science Museum is our partner. MadaTech's design team manufactures the interactive museum displays according the needs of the local community in Ethiopia.