Catalyzing Innovation In Nigerian Public Schools
For many years, we have worked directly with parents who enrol their children directly into our learning pathway through our academy, boot camps or partnerships with private schools. We never got an opportunity to work with children from public schools until an opportunity showed up through a partnership with HP and Junior Achievement Nigeria. This not-for-profit organization wanted to introduce students to computer programming through a coding boot camp.
For days, our team worked with more than 150 students drawn from six public schools in Lagos and Akwa Ibom States of Nigeria introducing them to the creative thinking process and helping them learn the foundations of programming with Python. We initially had our reservations and questions, for example: how much could a 12-year-old who knows nothing about computer programming learn in three days? We were shocked, and this experience changed us much more than it changed the students.
Our Biggest Lesson
Our biggest learning from the entire experience is that Talent truly is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. Many extremely talented children just happen to be born in underserved communities or whose parents are unable to afford expensive education. Such children should not be deprived of the opportunity to soar to their highest potential because of the lack of access to opportunities that push them further.
While it is true that luck happens when opportunity meets preparation, the fact is that some people have enlarged their luck surface area. They have made it easier for them to get lucky because they have had robust preparation which has positioned them to convert opportunities as soon as they appear.
What we are going to do differently
The experience has opened our eyes to new gaps and has inspired us in a new direction. We are now creating what we call the EarlyFounders Community Labs, a mobile computer lab and creative learning space which focuses on bringing early-stage STEM and creative learning to public schools and underserved communities in Nigeria.
The first version of the community labs should be functional by the 2nd Quarter of 2024.