This year, the National Students Congress on Science and Technology (NSCST) was marked with pomp and color at the Kisii High School in Kisii County, lake region from 13-15 June 2013; as they celebrated its 51st anniversary since its inception in 1962 by the science teachers who were members of the then Kenya Science Teachers Association (KSTA). There was a display of excellence in presentation of ideas, and a fairly good depth of scientific principles behind their innovations; with many schools embracing information technology (IT) in their presentations.
The National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) which is the government agency mandated to advise the government on all policy matters of STI, its coordination and promotion within Kenya sponsored the congress with Ksh 2 Million. They took note of the great innovative potential in the youths which needs to be harnessed. They had just recently sponsored the NSCST 2012 winners to the 1nd and 2nd National Science, Technology and Innovation Week held in May 2012 and May 2013 respectively at KICC Nairobi, to exhibit their work.
In line with the implementation of the country new constitution, the Ministry of Education grouped the counties into regions to replace the provinces which were abolished. The regions are as follows:
1. Metropolitan (Nairobi,Machakos,Makueni and Kajiado Counties)
2. Aberdares (Kiambu,Kirinyaja,Muranga,Nyeri,Nyandarua and Laikipia Counties)
3. Nakuru (Nakuru,Narok,Kericho,Bomet,Baringo,Elgeyo Marakwet,Uasin Gishu and Nandi Counties)
4. Nothern (Marsabit,Isiolo,Meru,Tharaka Nithi,Embu,Kitui and Samburu Counties)
5. Nzoia (Kakamega,Busia,Vihiga,Bungoma,Trans-Nzoia,West Pokot and Turkana Counties)
6. Lake (Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira Counties).
7. Mombasa (Mombasa,Kwale,Kilifi,Lamu,Tana River, and Taita Taveta Counties)
8. Garissa (Garrissa,Wajir and Mandera Counties)
The Congress was officially opened by His excellency, James Ongwae , Governor Kisii County who took note on the relevance of the theme "Science and Technology for the Actualization of Vision 2030" to the aspirations of the Kenyan people to attain middle level income economy by 2030. He said It prompts the students and their teachers to use scientific and technological knowledge to come up with solutions to everyday challenges such as food insecurity, environmental decay, areas of health as well as water.
Although there was great improvement in innovativeness compared to the previous years, the Governor decreed the fact that for 51 years, the congress has been limited to secondary school level and within the country unlike other co-curricular activities that compete across various educational levels, within the East African region and even the whole world. In addition, little has been done to protect and develop the students' innovations. There is also little or no-collaboration with institutions of higher learning and research. He therefore called upon all stakeholders to closely partner with the Ministry of Education in order to enhance the development of Science Technology and Innovation (STI).He also promise to support the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair in the future.
The National Chairman of the National Organizing Committee, Mr George Wasike remarked that "Innovations will provide solutions to the challenges we experience towards achieving Vision 2030 which is our blue print for National Development." He thanked HACCO Industries, Longhorn Book Publishers, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA), School Equipment Production Unit (SEPU), Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN) and Intel African Corporation for co-sponsoring the event. He specifically appreciated the effort of PACN in awarding the winners in Chemistry as well as donating T-shirts for the participants.
Prof.Jacob O. Midiwo, Executive Secretary PACN during the closing ceremony appreciated the consistency of RSC in sponsoring PACN in awarding winners in Chemistry. He also remarked that this has stimulated a healthy competition amongst the participants and change of attitude towards the subject ever since it was commenced. He also emphasized that the country's vision 2030 is embedded deeply in innovations which everybody should embrace and appreciate.
All the 96 chemistry participants were given T-shirts while the winning schools in positions 1-3 also got cash awards as shown below in both Exhibit and Talk.
The NSCST committee looks forward to further support from PACN and other donors to sponsor similar events in the future. This will help the entire student community change their attitude towards sciences. Already, they are seeking for collaboration with willing donors to sponsor the most innovative presentations to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in USA and South Africa.