The African continent, in spite of its rapidly growing population, has quite a few students of tertiary education. On average only 6% of the African youth has access to higher education, while in OECD it’s about 80%. The rates look no better for disciplines like science and technology. In countries like Namibia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania there is one qualified engineer per 6000 people.
In China, for instance, the ratio is 1:200. Meanwhile, as many African economies have entered into a phase of fast development, their labour market shows more and more demand for a qualified workforce, especially in the field of technology. Those two factors combined contributed to creation of a large gap between what the employers need and what they can get.
Where it began…
Transfer Multisort Elektronik is a global distributor of electronic components located in Lodz, Poland. Over a quarter of a century of experience on international market enriched by watchfulness to its changes and needs led to a launch of a unique initiative that aims to promote and implement technological knowledge, where it is most needed. TME Education was founded in 2016 as a response to the lack of proper learning materials and know-how vital to raising up a generation of qualified engineers. Since its foundation, the programme encompassed Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Morocco, Egypt, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa and India, and is constantly developing new means to introduce its solutions in other countries. The project’s aim is not only to provide resources as such but most of all, to recognize the needs of the communities in which it is implemented. That is why the core value of the programme’s activity is cooperation.
Let’s do it together!
The first pillar of TME Education’s philosophy is forming close and long-lasting relationships with schools and other educational institutions. Apart from furnishing labs with specialized equipment, the project also offers further assistance, workshops for students and training for teachers. The goal is not to provide tools per se but to co-create quality education and bring up a new generation of the electronics specialist. The project aims to engage young technology enthusiasts in changing the reality around them by developing their innate capacities, talents and realizing their ideas. For this reason, it was necessary to learn about them and their communities first. That’s why another substantial aspect of the program’s activity was establishing the role of an ambassador.
A teacher – a changemaker.
The ambassador is a young and proactive electronics enthusiast, originating from the local community and genuinely knowing its reality. Such person is not only the project’s representative but also a mentor and teacher to the students. TME Education Ambassadors have already conducted successful training in several schools and other educational institutions. In the first half of 2018 only, the programme’s representatives trained students in 12 different units. All the events gathered highly positive feedback both from teachers and participants. A week training in Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (Tanzania), for instance, received warm reception and encouraged the students to continue their experience with Arduino programming. The uniqueness of those workshops was not only credit of inspirational and motivational spirit of the lecturers but also due to TME Education’s self-designed kits.
Make learning easier!
The most popular of them, TME Edu Kit, based on Arduino Uno, was created to make learning process more comfortable. Its compact design and integrated peripherals significantly facilitate first steps in programming and are of a great use especially for beginners. TME-EDU-ARD-1 proved itself as a highly efficient and intuitive educational tool during numerous workshops and events, including International Arduino Day. TME Education also prepared TME’s Electronics Experiments Kit – a set of over 300 elements that makes it possible to create several projects simultaneously and explore the potential of self-designed electronic circuits. Both educational sets are developed in a way that makes them perfect tools for learning contemporary electronics at schools, regardless of their level.
TME Education is currently operating in 11 African countries and by 2020 it will have covered the whole continent. The initiative has also reached India and soon is going to promote technology and electronics education in other regions, where the resources and access to such knowledge are not sufficient to bring up and nurture the innate talent of local youth. The project will also extend the scope of its activities. Soon, it will open school electronics labs. It has already launched regular improvement training for teachers to prepare them to conduct classes at TME Education Labs and Clubs.
Moreover, TME Education is preparing more educational content including more video tutorials, articles and a specialist periodical dedicated to electronics, available both in a printed and a downloadable PDF version. Soon the project will release its own guidebook to electronics combined with a practical kit. TME Education is all about cooperation and finding solutions to real-life problems. One of the project’s goals is to co-create and fuel a multinational community of electronics enthusiasts all over the world. The future of qualified engineers is not only devices or equipment, but it is also the assiduity and attention to bringing out talents and cherishing the knack for technology and development. And this is what TME Education is all about.
Because together we’ll go further!