Leap Hubs Hackathon Challenges Secondary Students to “Transform Education in Africa”

Eric Olsen
October 5, 2014

“How would you Transform Education in Africa?” This was the challenge posed to students who participated in the first Leap Hubs Hackathon on October 4, 2014 organized by the Global Peace Foundation Kenya, Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology in East Africa (CEMASTEA) and Airtel Kenya.

A young student from one of the four Leap Hub pilot schools asks a question at a Leap Hubs workshop in Kenya.

A hackathon is a workshop where participants are asked to generate solutions to software, social, media or in this case educational problems. Students from Leap Hub pilot schools, including Moi Forces Academy, Kenya Girls High School, Mangu Boys School and Mary Leakey Girls School, were challenged to come up with solutions to these problems as a first step in transforming education in Africa.

Leap Hubs is an entrepreneur incubator spearheaded by the Global Peace Education that provides guidance and space in secondary schools for highly motivated students to explore their ideas and become social entrepreneurs.

Mr. Stephen Njoroge, Director of CEMASTEA and GPF Character and Creativity Initiative National Council member commenced the Hackathon. He encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Leap Hubs to become job creators and active contributors to their nation. Mr. Heshan De Silva, the youngest Kenyan billionaire, also addressed the Hackathon, inspiring students to “start now” and not wait for the “golden ticket of opportunity.” Nine corporations from Kenya were present, including Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corporation, De Silva Group, Strathmore Business School, Innovate Kenya and Copy Cat Ltd.

They provided experts in information-communication-technology, finance and accounting, marketing and branding, customer relations and product development who worked one-on-one with Leap Hub students as they tacked the Hackathon challenge.
The following are some of the innovative solutions that students developed during the hackathon:

  • Mary Leakey students designed an e-book business. The e-book not only saves paper to address environmental degradation in the country but also streamlines Kenyan classrooms and increases accessibility.
  • Moi Forces Academy students proposed  a Security Management System in order to create secure student/teacher interfaces.
  • Mangu High School students created an approach to increase information retention using GamePro. Their proposal encourages academic enrichment not just during the school term, but during holidays as well.
  • Kenya High School students researched and designed new classroom desks that were ergonomically sound and encouraged more participation.

Global Peace Education works with principals, teachers, Ministries of Education, community leaders, parents, funders and organizations to expand their vision of what it means to educate. Central to this mission is engaging the complete child as a unique and special individual who has the potential to be successful and lead a happy, fulfilling lives.

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