UTK UNITED TECHNOLOGIES FOR KIDS GLOBAL STEM LABS
Inspiring and training youths from underprivileged communities with STEM and Social Innovation competencies for a better life
Pitch us on your solution
Youths living in underprivileged communities in the developing world face a huge lack of opportunities when they graduate from school. Furthemore, in many countries, like in Bangladesh, more than 70% of the kids quit studies and don´t follow tertiary education in Universities or Technical Institutes. The ratio is even worse for girls. Therefore, most of them end up working in low skilled informal jobs, or maybe worse, join criminal gangs. This represents an enormous waste of talent.
UTK plan is to create a network of STEM and Social Innovation Labs in selected schools across the country to give the kids the STEM skills needed to be able to provide digital services when they graduate. This will give them not only the means to earn money, but become the seed for future startups.
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What is the problem you are solving?
Bangladesh is an overpopulated country where 40% of its population are below 19 years old . It has experienced impressive growth in the recent years and it is poised to continue in that path due to the population growth factor. It is considered one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world, but most of the jobs available for youths are low skilled and low productivity, which in the medium term may lead to sluggish growth and missed opportunities if the country doesn´t develop its Human Capital from the school years.
UTK intends to address this potential gap by inspiring and training kids in high school, to provide them with the digital skills needed for the jobs of the future. Moreover, at school graduation, the kids will have the knowledge to provide specific digital services to small businesses; like creating webpages, providing digital services and developing simple automation solutions.
Using the hub and spoke model to be able to engage more schools and communities, UTK intends to bring the attention of Bengali Private Firms, International Organizations and donors to fund the STEM programs. The means could be Grants, Corporate Social Responsbility Funds or Tax breaks.
Who are you serving?
UTK wants to be the spark that ignites a revolution in Bangladesh Education and Human Capital Development.
As any kids around the world, Bengali schoolers are in general creative and have the potential to be well educated and live a fulfilling live. However discrimination, lack of opportunities and outdated education systems hinder them to reach their full potential during the school years and thereafter.
UTK Methodology is project based and its STEM Programs don´t require previous advanced math or science skills: motivation, hard work and commitment are more important. The students are taught at their own learning pace based on a series of hand-on challenges per topic, with different levels of difficulty; and most importantly, they have to ideate and develop a Social Innovation prototype that addresses a need from their school or neighborhood. Therefore not only the students and teachers are involved, but parents and the community in general as well. However the impact goes beyond the prototype or project itself: the kids develop a sense of self-efficacy to engage in any activity and become change agents in their society at their young age.
What is your solution?
UTK UNITED TECHNOLOGIES FOR KIDS implements STEM Education and Social Innovation programs in schools in developing countries.
The transfer of knowledge is done through the implementation of STEM labs in selected schools, under a hub and spoke model. The school with better infrastructure and STEM competencies will serve as a hub for other schools in a geographic area, to ensure the model sustainability and cost effectiveness.
UTK Instructors are young STEM students from local universities, that are recruited and trained by UTK Staff. The students are organized around INVENT student organizations, created and sponsored by UTK. Currently there are more than 15 INVENT organizations in top universities in USA, Peru, Colombia and Argentina, that works as volunteers or are paid for their services depending their seniority and type of work.
UTK flagship program is named UTK STEM Labs. It is implemented along two or three years in the participating high Schools. The program can be implemented within the school hours of after classes. The methodology used is project based learning, and from the very first class the students have to solve hands on challenges of different degrees of difficulty according to their skills.
The technologies used have been chosen in such a way as to allow students to develop tangible prototypes from an idea to its design and manufacturing in a matter of hours. The fundamental topics included are: Design and 3D printing, electronics and circuits with Arduino Micro-Controllers, Design Thinking and Programming with Scratch, App Inventor and Python.
One of the fundamental pillars of the UTK STEM Labs program requires that the participating students develop social Innovation prototypes in the communities related to the schools and in low-income areas, using the technologies learned in the program. Some of the prototypes may be scaled up to become a real project that solves a community issue.
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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Berkeley, California, EE. UU.
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Our solution's stage of development:Scale