Through the lens of history, IEEE REACH offers secondary school teachers resources that enhance students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills while boosting cultural and technological literacy. The program provides a new lens from which students may view engineering and technology as relevant to their lives and their future, providing a new STEM education pathway.
The program is gaining traction on a global stage. Under the IEEE/UNESCO Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), in association with the IEEE Africa Council and Uganda Section, a pilot program involving 70 teachers, introduced 1,000 students, predominantly girls, to REACH resources in urban classrooms and by a traveling classroom to rural villages. Due to the success of the pilot program, collaboration expanded to introduce REACH to Secondary Education Science and Math Teachers during teacher workshops led by the Uganda National Commission for UNESCO. Teachers were inspired by the workshops, and it elevated interest by the Uganda Ministry of Education as part of a new curriculum agenda. As a result, teachers in Uganda have a new “toolbox” to help students think critically about the societal context of technology and enhance interest in STEM.
These efforts led to an invitation for Vincent Kaabunga, Past Chair IEEE Africa Council and IEEE Volunteer Lead for the IEEE REACH/UNESCO program, to participate in a round table discussion during UNESCO World Engineering Day. The round table, Build Back Wiser, Engineering the Future was live streamed and can be viewed on YouTube. It ends with Ms. Amal Kasry, Chief of Section of Capacity-building in Science and Engineering at UNESCO, stating, “We are all thrilled at UNESCO…to have worked with IEEE on the REACH project and we look forward to expanding the project to different countries together.”
In addition, Kaabunga and REACH team members presented, Enhancing Secondary Teacher STEM Engagement and Increasing Access to Underserved Communities through International Collaboration, with IEEE REACH at the Open Education (OE) Global in-person Congress 2022 in May in Nantes, France.