Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWE Uganda) on Friday 21st June, 2019 held the National Science and Innovation Competitions at Gayaza High School, Wakiso district. The Competitions were held under the theme, “Promoting Science Education and Innovation for Development.”
The competitions are focused on improving participation and performance of girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at secondary school level in addition to enhancing students’ practical skills. They also aimed at stimulating girls’ interest in researching more about STEM, take-up STEM subjects and science related career disciplines; and establishing stronger relationship between what is learnt in class and actual application of concepts.
Karugutu Secondary School in Noroko district won the competition with the Sweetened Milk Powder product, 2nd runners up was Mt. Of Olives College Kakiri with Propelled Wheel Sprayer, 3rd Wanyange Girls Schools in Jinja – Bio Decomposer, 4th Kangole Girls in Karamoja – Cow dung Briquettes and 5th YY Okot Secondary School in Kitgum district – Using Solar Sunlight to cook. At the same event, 50 Best Science Teachers of biology, chemistry, physics, agriculture and mathematics were awarded brand new laptops.
The Chief Guest, Mr. Usher Magara, Commissioner for Science and Innovation Outreach at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) said that, “I thank FAWE Uganda for organizing this event. Innovation and research are important and lead to development. Government through the MOSTI is committed to supporting innovation in Uganda and this financial year Ushs. 10 billion has been allocated towards supporting innovations in different sectors including energy, road infrastructure, tools helping people living with disability and agricultural inputs, and this is meant to motivate young people to do sciences.”
He added that, “As a Ministry, we shall identify projects/ideas and support advance, protect them through patenting and copy right so that schools and students benefit from their innovations. We shall build capacity of stakeholders including learners in schools, different tertiary institutions and Universities to advance their innovations and commercialize them to both their and societal benefit.”
Ms. Susan Opok Tumusiime, the FAWE Uganda Executive Director, expressed that, “The National Science and Innovation competition is aimed at creating a platform where learners can freely come up with ideas and innovations focused on addressing community needs while using local materials. With this initiative, we expect to uncover the untapped talent of students especially girls in research and innovation to help address the current high unemployment problem in Uganda through promoting job creation and self employment. It will further enhance the students’ intellectual capacity in respect to rational, critical and creative thinking in addition to demystifying the misconception that science subjects are difficult and cannot be done by girls which is wrong. ”
Prior to the national competitions, sciences exhibitions were held at different levels right from school, district and regional, where best innovations addressing societal problems were selected to compete at the national level. National competitions featured 20 schools that represented all the four regions of Uganda including; Y.Y Okot Memorial College, Moyo S.S, Semuliki High School, Karugutu S.S, Kyebambe Girls School, Kangole S.S, Moroto high school, Katakwi high school, Mt of Olives College Kakiri, Mityana Secondary School, Kitante Hill School, Wanyange Girls’ School and Iganga Girls’ Secondary School.