Children in Pakistan aren’t taught even the most basic concepts of computer science until they are in high school. Even in this modern age of computers, the only way they have to delve into complex concepts like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics is to take these courses at college level or rely on online help. Now, a small startup called “Stemers” is looking to change that by teaching kids as young as the fifth grade about robotics using an innovative array of techniques.
What is Stemers?
Stemers is an initiative to provide science, technology, engineering and math education to learners of grade 8 and above, to produce tech-savvy future leaders in Pakistan. They offer basic, intermediate and advanced level courses in which students have the opportunity and resources to learn cutting edge technologies in robotics, programming, 3D printing and even game development.
This small startup is founded by Ahmed Paracha, a graduate of Electrical Engineer from NUST, Karachi. As an undergrad student, he was intrigued by how most freshmen and sophomores didn’t find their semester projects a big deal.
“I delved further and came to know that the school children there participate in international competitions too,” said Ahmed while talking to TechJuice. “This fascinated me to bring the children of Pakistan to up their level to the higher ranks of technology, at least to a level where the youngsters would represent our country in the same way the kids do it out there.”
As a result, Stemers came into being. It is a collection of science, technology, engineers, mathematicians (STEM); hence, the name “Stemers”. Currently, the startup is run by a trio of individuals including Ahmed Paracha, the founder; Jazib Kaleem, the head developer; and Bilal M.Yousuf, the General Manager.
How many courses do they teach?
- Robotics 101:
Students learn the basics of robotics and build a working robot under the expert guidance of their team. Presented with a challenge, they also learn to apply mathematical and scientific concepts to robotics and brainstorm to create their own imaginative robots to solve the given problems.
Students build on skills from Robotics 101 and perform more complicated tasks through the “Do It Yourself RoboDuino kit”, developed and provided by the startup itself. They are presented with challeneges for which they brainstorm and use their imagination to create robots and foray into the real world of programming.
- Electrical Circuits:
This course helps students to experience and learn concepts of electrical engineering! From fixing appliances to making gadgets, students learn, apply skills and play around with electrical circuity.
- 3D printing:
Students learn 2D and 3D modelling and find out how to turn their 3D models into physical objects through 3D printing.
- Game Development:
This course provides a practical and fun approach for students to fall in love with programming through game development! They use their creativity and imagination to design their own mobile- based games.
During the past, they have collaborated with different schools, namely, St. Patrick’s, Bay View and Happy Home to conduct their courses at their campuses. Now, Stemers also conducts courses at IBA’s Main Campus in Karachi and Zamazama Commercial at their newly opened LAB. You can pick your preferred location during registration.
There have been around 100 students enrolled in different courses at Stemers from BVS, Karachi Public, Pathways British, Beaconhouse and other schools. Any student from grade five or above can take part!
Stemers Summer Camp
For those not willing to dedicate themselves to full courses, there is also the option of a month-long summer camp. Divided into 4 parts, it will offer Robotics 101, Game Development, Be an entrepeneur and STEAM courses, comprising of hands of learning of some interesting science concepts and some mental math sessions. Although targeted for students 10 or over, younger kids are also welcome.
The summer camp is being held in collaboration with IBA’s Aman CED and classes will commence from 23rd May and will last till 16-22nd of July.
How can I register for it?
You can register yourself/your kid by visiting the register page on Stemers’ website and filling out the required information. The per month fee for a course is 5,000 rupees while the per participant fee for the summer camp is 15,000 rupees. All the regular courses are 2-months long but only the RoboDuino one will last for 4 months.
Stemers also arranged their own “Robotics Mindstrom” competition in IBA’s annual IT Olympiad, ProBattle 16. The multi-stage competition consisted of two artificial intelligence-based robots, fighting it out to push the other one out from a small 3 feet painted ring on the floor. To everyone’s delight, a group of students from Grade 6 and 7, taught by Stemers themself, managed to beat out even experienced college graduates to win the 20,000 rupee cash prize.