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    Date submitted
  • 10-Apr-2017

Advancing STEM Education

Abstract

Sayans is a not for profit organization located in Mpigi district, Uganda. We can loosely be described as a student’s companion to STEM education where resource deprived students and teachers access computers containing off-line educational resources, fun games and other fabrication and prototyping tools. The ability of the students to research and design their own projects while teachers develop project based lesson plans and engage students in learning, is our main selling point.

Sayans holds true to its vision of having a strong workforce of young Ugandans who are passionate, develop science and technology into businesses, and engage in the worldwide open-source community.

Schools in the network are required to pay an annual minimum membership fee agreed with the schools and considering the conditions of the schools. We plan to grow the network of schools in the second year and as the network of schools grows, we shall be able to sustain our operations.

Sayans hopes to find $50,000 to scale up and officially launch Sayans in December this year.

Video

Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Sayans targets rural primary and secondary schools in Uganda. Specifically targeting students between 8 to 21 years in primary (P4-7) and secondary (S1-6) schools in rural areas who are interested in sciences. These schools are characterized by poor laboratory facilities, poor teaching methods with fewer science teachers especially in government schools. Most of the students perform poorly in science subjects and very few students take on science subjects especially in A-level and other institutions of higher learning. We aim to impact the students through the science teachers as the catalysts of change.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Sciences are often the worst performed subjects in Ugandan schools. In the recently released Uganda National Examinations, 40% students fail sciences and were the worst performed, a trend consistent for the past many years. According to Womakuyu (2009), 50% of the students in urban schools passed sciences while 80% of their rural counterparts had low grades or failed. This is attributed to rural schools having poorly equipped labs and lack access to technologies, making students focus on content given in class only. Teachers are also not creative in teaching and don't relate science to everyday life, thus making it detached and students labeling them hard and boring. The national examinations board assumes an ideal situation and sets the same exams without regard for the local conditions of each school.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

Sayans has two major unique aspects: The first is that Sayans labs provide students with access to materials that are otherwise inaccessible to their communities. More importantly, however, the computers and other equipment present are designed for the purposes of resource-limited settings and are designed to be repaired on site with locally available materials. Centralized facilities will allow us to manage their usage, assess the impact on the communities, and increase the sustainability of the organization. The other unique aspect is in the continued support we will provide to schools and teachers to allow our work to have a sustainable impact. We are actively expanding our network of educators and facilitating the progress in improving science education.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Sayans has two teams. The close partnership between the US and Uganda teams allows us to specialize in both the technological aspects and educational aspects required to make this organization successful. The Uganda team has extensive experience in working with active based learning and education, understand the local education system and the culture. Close communication with the US team allows proper development of computers designed for Sayans labs. More over, our computers are specifically designed by the US team and can be repaired on site.