Mr Arinaitwe Otim Rugyendo delivered this speech at the launch of e2 Young Engineers Uganda, a tech education program targeting children. The foresighted speech is among the most important speech by Ugandans about today’s education and how it is preparing Ugandans to compete in the world of tomorrow.
Delivered on March 4, 2019 at Padre Pio House in Kampala, Mr Rugyendo outlined reasons why education should be reconfigured to adapt to the world we are living in. He challenged educators to embrace innovation, creativity and critical thinking among skills children of this era need to thrive.
Below is the speech:
The Chief Guest, the Honourable Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information & ICT, Invited Guests, Journalists, Friends of e2 Young Engineers world-wide, Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of e2 Young Engineers Uganda, I welcome you all to this great occasion when we unveil our exciting educational enrichment programme before the ladies and gentlemen of the press.
Thank you for coming.
Mr Guest of Honour sir, in a recent Daily Monitor article of February 27, 2019 titled: Ugandans Born Today will be 80 in 2100: What will they eat? Journalist Charles Onyango Obbo writes on Page 15: “What is Uganda doing to prepare for tomorrow? As 2018 closed, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa named a Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More quietly last year, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, called for the formation of a task force on how the country can work magic with block chain and Internet of Things technologies. Its ICT Ministry immediately formed one.” Then he adds: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, as many clever Ugandan men and women who follow these things will tell you, refers to how things will work when the Internet of Things, Fifth Generation wireless technologies (5G), 3D Printing and all sorts of autonomous vehicles come together.” Charles later on concludes by arguing that a new system of education is needed yesterday to settle this.
He writes: “If I were president, I would demand that ministries give me a plan on bio-technology, autonomous bulk transportation systems, and the education of a workforce that is leading in these sectors- all realisable in a framework of less than five years.”
Mr. Guest of Honour sir, another worrying scenario: This time it is from a 2018 report by the World Economic Forum where you are a distinguished Young Global Leader. Titled: The Future of Jobs: “Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” it focusses on the period between 2018-2022 in order to arrive at a better understanding of the potential of new technologies to create as well as disrupt jobs and to improve the quality and productivity of the existing workforce. It spells hope on the top 15 emerging jobs and doom on the top 15 disappearing ones, all because of the reality of the 4IR.
According to the report, here are the Top 15 Emerging Jobs in the next 5 years:
- Data Analysts and Scientists
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialists
- Software and Application Developers and Analysts
- Sales and Marketing Professionals
- Big Data Specialists
- Digital Transformation Specialists
- New Technology Specialists
- Organisational Development Specialists
- Information Technology Services
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialists
- Software and Applications Developers and Analysts
- People and Culture specialists
- E-commerce and Social Media Specialists
- Robotics Specialists and Engineers
- Digital Marketing and Strategy specialists
Top 15 Declining Jobs:
- Data Entry clerks
- Accounting, Bookkeeping and payroll clerks
- Administrative and Executive Secretaries
- Assembly and Factory Workers
- Client information and customer service workers
- Business services and administrative mangers
- Accountants and Auditors
- Material recording and stock keeping managers
- General and Operations managers
- Postal Service Clerks
- Mechanics and Machinery repairers
- Tele marketers
- Bank tellers and related clerks
- Car, van and motorcycle drivers
- Door to door sales workers, news and street vendors and related workers.
Mr. Guest of Honour sir, the following are noted as the Must- Have Top ten skills by 2022
- Analytical thinking and innovation
- Active learning and learning strategies
- Creativity, originality and initiative
- Technology design and programming
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Complex problem-solving
- Leadership and Social Influence
- Emotional intelligence
- Reasoning, problem solving and ideation
- Systems analysis and evaluation
Mr. Guest of Honour sir, of the following top ten companies by market capitalisation in the whole world. 6 and a half of these are technology-related
- Berkshire Hathway (includes IBM)
- Johnson & Johnson
- JPMorgan Chase
- Well Fargo
Rethinking Education Mr Guest of Honour sir, the above scenarios point to a fast technological change which means that the people operating constantly evolving machines, need to learn new skills – quickly.
Our current education system adapts to change too slowly and operates too ineffectively for this new world. We need to build an education system for lifelong learning – and a culture that promotes it. Rewiring the system should begin with pre-kindergarten and impose an edutainment approach to learning.
What then is the Case of e2 Young Engineers Uganda? As you have noticed in our presentation, e2 Young Engineers is aligned to the new government early childhood education policy that looks to an edutainment approach for the early childhood learners. It is also in line with the country’s Vision 2040 which spells out emphasis on STEM Education. I refer you to page 43 of the Vision 2040 document. It is there in black and white.
But what is the problem? The problem is that no government agency has internalised it. If they have, then they don’t know how to implement it. At e2 Young Engineers, we have the means. We have the means and know how because, our aim is to create a critical mass of technologically aware Ugandans and Africans who will transform a very rich continent in terms of resources but one which is very weak in the application of science and technology on these resources.
Uganda and Africa need a Problem solving, critical thinking labour force ready to tackle 21st century problems. This is what we are doing here. Ours is the real future of education. All of our programs utilize an ‘edutainment’ (education + entertainment) approach to learning, which means our students learn about science and also have fun building LEGO® models! Many Lego® based STEM after school programs are really nothing more than an excuse for parents to leave their children in school for an extra hour while hoping that at least they’re learning something. School administrators can see this when talking to the children. For example, children leave our competitor’s programs feeling like they learned how to build a toy car.
For us here, our children leave our programs able to explain how a transmission system works in a car. We don’t encourage bouncing castles. We teach our kids what makes that bouncing castle bounce. We don’t encourage kids to just move in the dad’s car to school. We teach them what makes that car rave and move. We don’t just take kids on trip to the lift at Acacia Mall. We teach them the science that moves that elevator! Hence, Our motto is: Build your tomorrow Today!
As we do so, we are also cognisant of the fact that CREATIVITY IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEVELOPED AND UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES! If we want Uganda to move forward, we must adopt educational systems that emphasize creativity, innovation and problem solving skills. This is and was the essence of this press launch so that Ugandans get to know and understand our historic mission. The mega launch of the entire franchise will be in June this year and you are all invited. We are therefore determined to make a contribution in the liberation of our education system for good. Those who are going to resist this new wave of change, will not manage because of the reality of the 4th Industrial Revolution that is upon us. I therefore appeal to government to immediately start listening to and engaging STEM Education promoters for the future and wellbeing of our region. I thank you very much!
Arinaitwe Rugyendo Managing Director e2 Young Engineers Uganda