In September, The Maranyundo School hosted a small but successful Open House for members of the Parents Committee to see the Maker Space in action. Gaspard, the former mayor of Nyamata, and his wife, Viviane, former president of the Parents Committee, also attended.
It was wonderful to see the girls “step up” and explain the LEGO building and recyclable activities on the first floor. It was amazing to hear students like Leslie (S-4) and Sonya (S-5) explain and demonstrate the 3-D printer process. Other students explained the COSMO robotics, Makey Makey and other electronics.
The students took center stage, as it were, and showed how competent and confident students can become using Maker technology and philosophy in just a week. Having refreshments afterwards in the Residence, we talked with the parents about future directions and ideas for the school. It was great to see such supportive parents who will be a help in implementing thoughtful technology programs at the school.
Earlier that week Students at Maranyundo School won two awards at the Awarding Best Innovations and Practices in Schools, which was held at the Ministry of Education.
The Maranyundo Maker Space students won an award for figuring out how to design pieces they needed for a robot and printing them on the 3-D printer. Two girls were awarded round trip tickets to AE and attendance at a technology workshop.
A 2nd award was given to three students who developed an App which could be used by families to report student absences to schools. This reflected the critical need the Ministry has to reduce drop out rate. Families can communicate with a school, the school then reports absences to the Ministry to note student absences so educators can begin to support students and family to have the student come back to school
Maranyundo student TETA Kelsy spoke for the students who had been recognized.
Citing students who come from different backgrounds and schools each able to work with the information and knowledge they gain in class and use it to make something, she clearly reflected the Competency Based education model that Rwanda is adopting. Big ideas and knowledge are essential for an educated nation. But it is also important that people learn to work together to bring good ideas into something that can help solve community needs.
She was an eloquent student voice for what these awards were developed to support. Education is becoming an essential to Rwanda as it continues to grow its economy and its entrepreneurial culture.