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Developing knowledge around the world
The international educational program Experimento is currently active in eleven countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
Educational requirements are different in every country and are strongly influenced by cultural factors. This is why local partners such as education ministries and universities are involved in all the countries. The cooperation with local educational partners helps meet the specific teaching and learning requirements of each country.
Real-life science and technology instruction
Kenya is one of eastern Africa's leading economies. Education ranks high on the country's political agenda. In one reflection of Kenya's commitment to this issue, it abolished fees for government-funded elementary schools in 2003. This decision also resulted in an addition of 1.7 million schoolchildren to the system – a challenge that the country has yet to completely meet: Qualified teachers are still in short supply, particularly in rural regions. As a result, classes of 80 or more children are hardly a rare occurrence in the country. The school infrastructure must also be expanded because Kenya lacks suitable buildings with equipped classrooms.
Parents also face major challenges of their own: They not only have to pay for the costs of school uniforms and educational materials, but many of them also have to cover room and board of their children. Families who live in rural areas with poorly trained teachers feel compelled to send their children to boarding schools located far away from their homes. This is the only way that the children can have a real opportunity for a good education. The structure of the Kenyan school system increases the pressure on parents: Good scores on the Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), a national standardized test taken at the end of the eighth grade, is the key requirement for acceptance to a secondary school.
Students must pay fees to attend comprehensive schools, some of which are publicly funded and some of which are privately financed. This is the reason why large portions of the country's population do not have an opportunity to attend these schools. One option is scholarships that are given to talented and disadvantaged children.
In 2014, the Siemens Stiftung began working in Kenya, focusing on Nairobi and the surrounding area. Training local educators to become multipliers is a key component of the Experimento concept here, too. That is why teachers and educators are given training in Experimento’s didactic and methodological approaches in specially developed seminars.
The Experimento team in Kenya now consists of three country-based multipliers who share their expertise at new schools each year and help to continuously strengthen the science and technology knowledge base of children and young people. They are also backed by a local project management team that maintains a broad network with contacts in the Kenyan educational community and clears the way for access to ministries.