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Students wow public at science exhibition

Ian Dawie and Benard Koonyo, both 17, have developed a system that can eradicate truancy in schoosl.Ibrahim Sahir  (16) and Aarmir Varwani (15) have improvised an intelligent trashcan that can separate plastic from the rest of the waste. John Kilipan and Francis Njoroge, both 18, have come up with a kit that can test marijuana users in schools by testing their hair.

These are just three of the 92 research projects students from over 160 schools in 10 counties displayed and presented to the public with eloquenceat the inaugural Young Scientists Kenya National Science and Technology Exhibition in Nairobi last week.

Young Scientists Kenya is a unique platform for young people to demonstrate their innovation and showcase their scientific talents. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Embassy of Ireland and Blaze  by Safaricom among others, the programme was launched in July 2017 and is currently in its pilot phase.  About 80 schools in 10 counties are involved.

Since March this year, YSK engaged students and teachers and positioning  science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem)  subjects as not only cool, but also central to day-to-day life. “Since our launch a year ago, we have reached out to schools and students in various parts of the country. We aim to shatter myths about Stemsubjects being difficult or boring and to ensure that students who are interested in these subjects get equal opportunities to excel in them,” said the Irish Ambassador Vicent O’Neil.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, while presiding over the official opening of the event at the KICC, challenged scientists and innovators to be at the forefront in finding solutions for challenges facing the country. “The solution to our challenges lies in scientific innovation and the harnessing of new ideas that create the ability for Kenya to leapfrog directly into new technologies,” he said.

Uhuru said it is through digital technology that doctors can give remote diagnostic capabilities that multiply hundredfold the reach of each doctor. He acknowledging the pivotal role of young people in advancing Kenya’s science and technology agenda and commended the work of the YSK, a platform he would like to see become a truly national event.

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