Madrasati, US Embassy, IREX launch ‘STEM Green Labs’ after-school program

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(Photo: IREX)
AMMAN — Representatives from Madrasati, the US Embassy and global education and development non-profit IREX inaugurated on Tuesday an initiative to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills among adolescents and support them in designing solutions to climate change issues in their schools and communities, according to a press statement.اضافة اعلان

The ‘STEM Green Labs’ project will run as part of Madrasati’s Masahati Student Clubs program during the second semester of the current school year, and will engage 240 Grade 8-9 students in 10 schools across Jordan, the statement said.

“The program starts with a 10-week training in multi-disciplinary STEM, and problem-based learning skills during which students are assisted in ideating, designing and testing climate change solutions,” it said.

Meetings with experts, and field visits to businesses working in renewable energy, environmental and water conservation “complement the training, exposing students to new career paths, and the growing green jobs’ market”, the statement noted.

“After the end of the school year, a highly experiential summer camp culminates in an expo showcasing the students’ solutions and engaging private and public sector representatives,” it said.

It maintained that the program, implemented by IREX and Madrasati in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and with the support of the US Embassy, also “provides professional development for teachers, who are trained to deliver the program, and are connected, through a virtual exchange, with US colleagues to share challenges and strategies in equipping students for higher education and careers in STEM”.

To mark the launch of the STEM Green Labs, IREX President and CEO Kristin Lord, IREX Vice-President for Global Program Rebecca Bell Meszaros, Madrasati Executive Director Tala Sweis, and US Embassy Deputy Public Affairs Officer Alison Davis visited Princess Alia Secondary School in Jabal Luweibdeh to listen to students’ ideas on climate change and its impact on people and communities.

“This generation of youth will have to face the most severe consequences of climate change: Extreme weather events leading to increased migration, declining standards of living, food and water insecurity, and degradation of natural eco-systems,” said Lord, after the listening session with the students.

“Raising their awareness and equipping them with the skills to navigate and meet these challenges is a priority,” she added.

According to Bell Meszaros, IREX has designed the STEM Green Labs program to meaningfully engage youth as leaders prepared to take on today and tomorrow’s challenges. “In this as in all other IREX youth programs around the world, we work with young people as partners. We value their ideas, perspectives, and strengths, and support initiatives that are youth-led. We came here today to listen to Jordanian youth, so their ideas inform and shape our activities,” Meszaros said.

Highlighting the program’s teacher development component, Sweis said the STEM Green Labs will help meet a need for effective strategies that go beyond conventional teaching and engage students in problem-based learning to develop positive attitudes towards STEM subjects and future careers.

Noting that the launch of the STEM Green Labs coincides with the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 being held in Egypt, Davis, the US Embassy’s deputy Public Affairs Officer, emphasized the role of concerted global action in combating the climate crisis. “Sustainable solutions start with youth. Empowering youth to understand and address the climate crisis helps us unlock solutions to this global challenge,” Davis said.

The Madrasati initiative was launched by Her Majesty Queen Rania in 2008 to improve the physical and educational environment of Jordan’s most neglected public schools.  Madrasati has served 850 Jordanian public schools run by the Ministry of Education, and identified as the most underperforming and most in need of renovation and assistance in educational development.

Madrasati has reached 360,000 students, 17,500 teachers, and 800 volunteers across Jordan’s 12 governorates.

With an annual portfolio of more than $100 million, and more than 600 staff worldwide, IREX is a global development and education organization working with partners in more than 100 countries to cultivate leaders, empower youth, strengthen institutions, and increase access to quality education and information.

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