Maureen Karamagi, the lady nurturing the 21st – Century Workforce

by Mmeeme Leticia Luweze
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Maureen Karamagi, through her Young Engineers initiative, is catalysing Uganda’s next generation of scientists, technologists and innovators by instilling hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills in children aged 4-17.

“Our programmes are tailored to the age groups of our participants. Starting as young as four, we aim to instil a love for science from an early age. For example, at age four, we introduce children to concepts like how swings work and explore the things that fascinate them most.” explains Maureen Karamagi.

“In our classes, the focus is on student engagement. Teachers only allocate five to ten minutes for instruction, allowing the rest of the time for students to interact with the teacher and engage in practical, hands-on learning rather than theory,” she adds

Driven by a passion for youth empowerment and a vision to revolutionize education, Maureen recognised the need to equip young minds with the tools to thrive in a globalized world. With a background in Social Sciences, specializing in social administration and gender development, alongside a master’s in business administration, she has emerged as a leader in propelling practical STEM education across Uganda and beyond.

“My motivation was the passion for the young children and to be able to transform because of how we have grown up we felt like there was a need to transform our education system, we felt like was something we could change that is not here yet is on the global platform and we have to compete on the global platform, We needed to transform and that is when we chose the children instead of waiting for these children to grow old. We hoped we could have these kids younger. We had a passion for inspiration to change the systems not just in Uganda but in Africa” explains Maureen

Under Young Engineers Uganda, students are not mere recipients of knowledge but active creators of solutions, engaging in real-world problem-solving. Through innovative teaching methods and exposure to diverse challenges, these young minds are honing their skills early, participating in hackathons, and contributing to advancing STEM fields.

The impact of Young Engineers extends beyond national borders, with students representing Uganda on international platforms and representing Africa. Part of the current cohort represented Uganda at the VEX World Robotics Championship in Dallas, USA in May.

Young Engineers Uganda is a pioneering international Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and robotics educational initiative designed for children aged 4-17. Operated in Uganda by the African School of Innovations Science and Technology (ASIST) Ltd, this program is implemented across various platforms, including children’s centres, and pre-primary, primary, and lower secondary schools.

With a mission to foster the emergence of the next generation of scientists, innovators, problem solvers, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers, Young Engineers Uganda envisions a future where young minds are equipped with essential skills to thrive in the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and innovation.

Through crafted pedagogical stages, children engage in hands-on learning experiences that not only impart technical proficiency but also cultivate a deep-seated curiosity and passion for science and technology. As they progress through the program, students not only gain valuable skills but also develop a profound appreciation for the wonders of science and technology, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow’s careers.

Young Engineers Uganda is inspiring Uganda’s new generation of scientists, technologists, and problem solvers by teaching practical STEM skills to kids aged 4-17.

“We’re nurturing the 21st-century workforce, equipping them with essential skills demanded in today’s world – creative thinking, effective communication, innovation, and more. Our program enriches existing skills, enhancing what children already possess. Schools appreciate the added value and readily sign up, recognizing the importance of preparing our youth for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.” explains Maureen the team CEO of Young Engineers Uganda

Young Engineers Uganda has been running since 2016 and has been able to reach 14,000 students as of 2024 their current enrolment is about 800 and for schools, they have reached over 25 schools

“Through our program, we offer two models tailored to suit the needs of schools: integration into the existing curriculum or as an after-school club. Many schools opt for the former, seamlessly incorporating our classes into their timetable. For others, the after-school model is preferred, providing an accessible opportunity for children to enroll in our diverse classes.” says Maureen Karamagi the CEO of Young Engineers

“The majority of our participants are girls, and last year, our team’s predominantly female composition earned us recognition from Google. Out of the seven team members, specifically, five were girls,” she adds

While Young Engineers has made a significant impact not only in Uganda but across Africa, challenges inevitably arise along the journey. Maureen highlights that some parents opt to enroll their children in only a few classes, resulting in inconsistent learning experiences that disrupt the educational process. Additionally, the reluctance of certain schools to prioritize practical studies poses another obstacle, as they tend to prioritize theoretical knowledge and high scores over hands-on learning experiences.

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