International business leader and technology professional Lucy Quist breaks down…
You may have heard by now about Ghanaian hardware business Dext Technology, the company behind the Science Set – a portable ‘mini science lab’ which aims to make it easy for young students to perform basic experiments, and become more engaged in STEM.
The team were recently contracted to supply their sets to 500 schools in the UK, through a partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Here, we speak to Co-founder of Dext Technology, Charles Ofori Antipem on how Dext is transforming the global educational system, one student at a time.
Firstly, who is Dext Technology and what is the Science Set?
Dext Technology Limited is a company that develops and deploys innovative, user-friendly and affordable tools for the effective learning of basic Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The Science Set is our solution to the lack of practical science education in Africa. It is an affordable mini science set that contains 45 individual materials for over 26 experiments and is small enough to fit on a student’s desk. Our goal is to increase performance and interest in science through access to hands-on teaching and learning materials. The science set can be used to perform activities at the basic school, junior high school, senior high school as well as technical school levels.
Why did you choose to address this specific challenge?
Science, technology and engineering are the bedrock for development and as such the effective training of young students in science and technology is paramount to development. Unfortunately, due to the lack of facilities, equipment and limited funds students in parts of Africa do not experience science beyond the black board. Lack of practical science education at the basic level is an obstacle we seek to remove. Students in these places miss the opportunity to get practical knowledge required to understand the technology of today and build the skills to be a part of those who create tomorrow’s technology.
The Science Set has made great strides both locally and internationally. Last year, you were honoured by the Royal Academy of Engineering with the Africa Prize Award. And more recently, MTN announced you as their 2019 Hero of Change. How does recognition such as this support what you do?
Beyond the validation that these awards and recognition bring, it has broadened the acceptance of our innovation within Africa and other parts of the world and has opened doors to other countries. It has also given us the opportunity to grow to meet increasing demands by positioning us to attract the investment needed to expand.
This year, your team has been contracted to provide Science Sets to 500 schools in the UK – how did this come about?
After winning the Africa Prize Award in May 2018, we caught the attention of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEG) who were excited and became interested in the science set, especially its affordability and ability to seamlessly integrate into various curricular, demystifying the teaching and learning of science. After the prize, RAEG decided to place orders and test the sets across 500 schools in the UK, as they were impressed as to how it easily integrated into the country’s curriculum.
Had you always planned to distribute your products beyond Africa?
Our key focus has been on Africa; however, this exposure has brought to the front the global nature of problem we are solving. Leveraging the exposure brought through the purchase by the Royal Academy of Engineering, we hope that in the next two years one million science sets will be in the hands of students in both Ghana and other African countries.
Who are the other team members in Dext Technology?
The Dext Technology team is made up of very young and passionate individuals who aspire to see a tremendous transformation in the teaching and learning of STEM. Besides myself, the team members are Michael Afrifa-Asante, Caleb Fugah, Mawuli Amedofu, Samuel Maxwell Yamoah, Emmanuel Nkrumah Sarpong, Elizabeth Davidel Asante, Rebecca Amonoo, Prince Owusu, Sebasthian Asante, Deborah Antwi Boasiako and Cecilia Sion.
What’s your future vision for Dext Technology?
Our vision is for the science set to reach one million students by the end of 2021 globally. Also, we are working hard to be the biggest Education Technology and Innovation company in Africa. Creating an exportable educational tool.
Complete this sentence: In 2020, Africa will…
… be at the forefront of innovation in STEM education worldwide!
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