STEMGuyana will launch an international STEM club on November 8th, 2020, in response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents whose children attended the Summer Academy.

The STEMGuyana International Academy has registered students of Guyanese descent from the Caribbean, the USA and from Guyana. Students will meet once weekly to strengthen their STEM and creative skills while working on an integrated Maths, Science & Technology curriculum designed by curriculum specialists and elite US University students. Students will all have a robotics kit while working virtually. They will be expected to use this kit to work on engineering projects after the introductory phase of the program. Students will also learn Artificial Intelligence and project creation using the Arduino board and sensors.

The NY-GUYDA nonprofit organisation has funded scholarships for 15 vulnerable students for 6 months of the program. Children of security guards, estate workers, and from indigenous or under-resourced communities have been identified for the scholarships. STEMGuyana is also working with major sponsors to drastically expand the program for more vulnerable children. Thus far, children from regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 and the US and the Caribbean have registered.

“All of Guyana’s children are valuable and all of them will be needed to develop our great nation. We have to find creative ways to engage and inspire our young people to engage with education in a meaningful way”, said Karen Abrams, STEMGuyana Director. “We’ve also reached out to the Ministry of Sports, Youth & Culture, the Ministry of Education and to the Prime Minister’s Office to invite their collaboration and we are encouraged”, Abrams continued.

The Academy program is nearly at capacity and beginning Sunday October 18th, will offer preparatory Scratch coding classes for students registered in the program. The Director noted that, “Scratch coding is inextricably integrated into our curriculum and all registered students are required to have a basic understanding of Scratch coding before enrolment, so we offer these classes free of charge to prepare registered students before the academic program begins in November.”

According to the 2017 LAPOP survey of the Guyanese population, less than 50% of households have access to computers and internet, thus STEMGuyana is working with sponsors, local churches, NGOs and with the NDMA to allow vulnerable children access to the virtual academy program via internet hubs and other facilities with internet access. These programs will be designed for students around the country, in small batches, while observing COVID-19 protocols. “We are not sure how long COVID-19 will continue to affect our children, so we’ve decided to design this program as a model which can be quickly expanded after the pandemic is over,” said Abrams.

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