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Jonathan, founder, InovTech

This Young Ghanaian Is Using Robotics To Simplify STEM For Students In Underserved Communities

Startups

May 23, 2022, 8:40 p.m.

Right here in Ghana, a young man believes that in some years' time, Ghanaian students will understand the complex geometry, science, and computer science they learn in class through a simple, practical approach using robotics. "We would have creative, problem solving, resilient, and innovative citizens that will provide solutions to problems we are facing in Ghana through STEM," he says.

To do this, the young man has established InovTech STEM Center. InovTech provides students with high-quality, industry-relevant, and sought-after skills and experiences, especially in underserved communities in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) through Robotics Education. InovTech leverages Educational Robots, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Embedded Systems for its notable course.

The STEM Center aims to be a world leader in providing innovative and creative STEAM programs that inspire, engage and develop citizens for Africa's social well-being, economic prosperity, and sustainability. They embark on outreaches throughout Ghana to underserved communities to provide them with high-quality experiences for free while also closing the gender gap. Its students are given real-life problems to solve.

For example, during COVID-19, the company tasked its students to prototype any device to limit the spread of the virus in schools, and they designed and programmed a smart sanitizer dispenser. Aside from that, the company hosts competitions to ensure the students understand the concepts they teach and work closely with their parents and schools to track their academic progress, find their weaknesses and work on ways to let them overcome them through its programs.

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The STEM Centre impacted over 2000 students in 2021 with its STEM4Her Outreach. They also trained over 100 teachers for the Ghana Education Service in educational robotics. Since its inception, INOVTECH has impacted over 10,000 students and 2000 teachers across Ghana. "We have been featured on international media such as Voice of America, CNN, and Zenger News, and local media agencies such as GhOne TV and GhanaWeb TV," the founder proudly says.

The young innovator founded the STEM center in 2015 when he was a high schooler in Labone Senior High School.

The founder is Jonathan Kennedy Sowah, a passionate, innovative, and creative young leader with a track record of establishing successful students and teachers with industry-relevant skills in the STEAM field. Jonathan began primary education at Teshie Anglican Basic School but dropped out in JHS 1 at 13 because he didn't like how ICT was taught. Afterward, he started working in an internet café to learn more about computers and saved money to go to a school of his choice.

"I started researching emerging technologies, watching coding and robotics tutorials online and learned how to repair and troubleshoot the network servers, computers, and printers. After a year, I decided to go to a boarding school to focus solely on my academics. So I got admission into Bright School, Kukurantumi, where I completed my basic education. I then proceeded to Labone Senior High School purposely to do Pure Science; thus Elective Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Biology to become a Neurosurgeon," Jonathan shared with DT Africa.

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However, he was sent to a different class to study Geography instead of Biology. "I did all my best to convince the assistant headmaster to allow me to do the biology, but my efforts were futile."

So Jonathan decided to pursue robotics engineering at the university after completing high school because of his interest in computing and engineering, but he would soon meet another roadblock. There wasn't any university offering that course for undergraduates at that time. Hence, he learned it on YouTube from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Udemy, University of Pennsylvania, Coursera, and Duke University.

"My love for computers inspired me to move into STEM. I love to understand how things work technically, and I enjoy the sight of the insides of electronic devices. Robotics got me more interested in taking my Mathematics seriously because I could apply what I have learned to solve real-life problems. And this empowered me to learn more because I could see the relevance of what I was learning. And this is one of the main reasons I started my company."

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"We are planning this year's STEM4Her Outreach, and the goal is to reach out to 100 underserved communities in Ghana in July. We are also planning on this year's GirlPowered workshop in October, and we are actively looking for organizations to sponsor this cause. We are also looking to partner with private schools to roll out our high-quality STEM programs."

"Nonetheless, we have partnerships with Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, Competitive Kids STEM, and Ghana Education Service, and we are actively looking for more fruitful collaborations."

There are amazing figures who contributed significantly to his journey in all these. The founder acknowledged his grandmother, Patience Adjeley Wonderful, for supporting his outreach programs. He also mentioned Ernest Kofi Boakye for giving him his first robotics kit and his geography teacher, Mr. Isaac Botchwey, who encouraged him to start this course as a business. Additionally, he acknowledged his advisor and very good friend, Prosper Gariba, who helped him import his training materials and inspired him to keep dreaming big. Lastly, his team continually keeps him on his toes.

He ended with these words, "I would like every organization to know that investing in, partnering, and sponsoring InovTech is investing in Ghana's future. The future of work is changing, and a new workforce is taking shape. Research shows that 75% of the fastest-growing occupations now require STEM skills and knowledge (Problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, resilience and communication)."

tag: Robotics, STEM, Innovation, Startup,

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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.

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