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New programme to teach children robotics launched

A programme that will enable children from 3 years to 17 years of age to study robotics over weekends has been launched in Kigali.

The programme “Keza Learning Compass” will be taught at a facility that is located in Gikondo and is able to host up to 120 children a day, giving them the opportunity to be instructed in robotics and programming, and mentoring to come up with ideas of using such technology to come up with ways of solving problems in the society.

The programme is a product of the Rwanda Education Future Lab, and it has a social impact mission of building strong foundations in the use of ICT by young school children through introducing robotics and programming as a means to enhance the teaching and learning the competence-based curriculum.

 “We looked at the successes we have made in the education system, and the journey that is there for us. So we came up with this programme as a means to show the children how we can use technology to produce solutions for the problems we have,” said Antoine Mutsinzi, the Director of the Programme.

The programme also provides a possibility for funding for children that are able to come up with appealing projects. This is in partnership with 1000 Alternatives, an impact-investing firm to support daring entrepreneurs to develop game-changing solutions towards improving education, health, trade, agribusiness, housing and city living.

1000 Alternatives and Keza Learning Compass will identify ideas from the children participating at the robotics and programming, offer them mentorship and later their projects will be able to contest in the “Impact Reimagined,” a competition by 1000 Alternatives that will run twice a year to identify and support viable impact-driven Rwandan ventures that are youth-led and women-led, where the winners will be supported financially and technically with their projects.

“Support will be provided to qualifying ideas through an incubation programme at the 1000 Alternatives location within the Keza Learning Compass premises.

This support will also include access to mentorship and advisory input for the ideas to take shape towards a viable business model and impact model,” says a statement from 1000 Alternatives.

According to 1000 Alternatives, further support will include linking the children’s venture ideas to like-minded startups inside and outside of the country, giving them access to technology licensing options to strengthen the ideas, and providing them with the opportunity of undertaking joint pilot projects with growth-stage startups in Rwanda.

The partnership will assist the winning projects in the processes of intellectual property protection and providing access to short-term and long-term financing.

According to Mutsinzi, the programme is going to start working next week. He tipped it as a better way for children to spend their weekends instead of going out for recreation activities.

The Keza Learning Compass will also feature sports education, public speaking, music and dance, storytelling, drawing, among others.