Fifty-four pupils from 10 schools in Kigali have completed a coding and robotics boot camp designed for primary school children. This program primarily targeted P.5 students and aimed to raise a passion for technology and instill foundational knowledge in robotics.
The camp concluded on September 1 and was conducted in two series. The first group commenced from July 17 to 28, while the second part took place from August 24 to September 1. This initiative was prepared and implemented through a collaboration between the Rwanda Education Board (REB) and STEM Inspires.
Minister of Education, Gaspard Twagirayezu emphasized the program’s productivity and expressed the intention to extend its implementation across all educational institutions, ranging from primary schools to universities.
“We want our children to enjoy STEM from an early age. This program nurtures collaboration and working on time among students,” he said.
Diane Sengati, Acting Head of the Department of ICT in Education at REB, highlighted that during the camp pupils had a clear comprehension of coding and its significance. They were provided with sufficient time for capacity building in problem-solving, teamwork, and conducting research.
Furthermore, she pointed out that they successfully developed robotics and reminded them that this not only marked the conclusion of the camp but also signaled the commencement of a significant initiative.
“This initiative is composed for scaling in schools, where students will be encouraged to consider what they’ve gained as valuable takeaways for their future endeavors,” she said
Nelson Mbarushimana, the Director General of REB, also tacked on the primary objectives of that boot camp which were to introduce children to the fundamental concepts of coding and robotics engagingly and enjoyably, to promote the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills among them and also to nurture creativity and innovation through hands-on projects and challenges.
Mbarushimana, also pointed out this cohort will have the opportunity to participate in other camps in the future.
“This will allow them to further develop and refine their skills before the initiative is expanded to schools nationwide,” he said
Treasure Blessing Mugabo, a primary five student at New Generation Academy, expressed how insightful the camp was and how much they learned from it. He said they gained valuable knowledge on building robots, programming them, creating tasks and missions, and accomplishing them.
“The skills I have acquired here, starting at this early age, will enable me to assist many people in the future. I can contribute to solving our country’s problems and explore alternative solutions,” she said.
Parents and teachers who attended the closing camp ceremony commended REB and its partners for this valuable initiative. They emphasized the importance of exposing children to such skills at an early age and urged for its expansion to schools nationwide.