Established in 2016 as a not for profit organization, STEMUp Educational Foundation aims to empower students to pursue higher education and careers in IT, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject matters. STEMUp has so far empowered thousands of students with its unique and innovative portfolio of courses and island wide training sessions. STEMUp boasts of more than thousand volunteers across the island whose soul ambition is engraved in supporting the youth navigate the digital space. In addition to IT and (STEM) subjects, the foundation provides learning sources in disruptive technologies such as AI, machine learning and many more.
STEMUp was recognized at the recent SLT Zero One Awards 2020, for its commitment to empower the youth with IT education. One of its most popular programs, ‘CoderDojo Sri Lanka’ won the ‘’Best Community Enablement Programme of the Year’’ and also emerged as the winner of ‘’Best Community Empowerment programme’’ in the Information Sector. Its coding supportive program, ‘Micro:bit Sri Lanka’ became the 1st Runner-up of the ‘’Best Community Empowerment programme’’ under the Government Institutes and NGOs sector.
Micro:bit Sri Lanka is a key initiative powered by STEMUp with the support of Micro:bit Foundation in UK to promote coding among the Sri Lankan youth. Micro:bit Sri Lanka has already conducted more than 500 sessions across the island through a pool of over 1000 volunteers from professional organizations and universities and it also includes a library where students can borrow Micro:bit devices along with a user guide. Micro:bit is a pocket sized device which is widely used in the educational structure of European countries which provides the opportunity to learn computer programming in a unique way.
‘’It is important to mention the commitment of our volunteers. Our strength is our well-established team of volunteers and they have identified the necessity of bestowing what they have learnt to the younger generation as well. Computer Programming, IOT and Machine Learning education was not available for rural villages a few years ago and STEMUp pioneered in taking disruptive technologies to the rural parts of the Island. We were determined that we needed to help the grassroots which were deprived of resources for IT education and over thousands of volunteers joined hands with us. We aspire to bring latest technology to Sri Lanka, bridge the STEM skill gap and build a generation of innovators, problem solvers and rational thinkers.’’ commented Prabhath Mannapperuma, Founder- STEMUp Educational Foundation
CoderDojo Sri Lanka is a coding club for the youth which provides a learning space and also enables meeting like-minded people. It is the Sri Lankan network of CoderDojo, an international open source social education movement. CoderDojo clubs are conducted by industry experts, professionals from universities and community centers. Currently STEMUp volunteers are conducting a series of virtual dojo sessions that provide knowledge about IoT, Ardunio, Machine Learning, Scratch and many more. Online Dojos were conducted during the Covid-19 outbreak to help kids to continue their learning journey.
STEMUp also conducted a Machine Learning project in partnership with MilleniumIT ESP called ‘’Machine learning for kids’’ or ‘’Poddanta Machine Learning’’. It was a knowledge sharing program aimed at providing hands-on knowledge on real world usage of AI to university students and school children. This project was initiated after having identified the lack of exposure in rural areas to disruptive technologies such as Machine Learning and AI.
‘’Machine Learning is widely used in most of the industries including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, financial services, science, travel and utilities. It is imperative that students understand the implications of machine learning which is expected to be used more and more in the future. They are the future leaders and they need to be well equipped with new technologies, so that they can meet the future demands in terms of technology and come up with innovations to be on par with the rest of the world.’’ commented Indika Dalugama, Director – STEMUp Educational Foundation.
In its continued efforts to upscale education, STEMUp is conducting virtual A/L classes with the collaboration of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC covering all subject areas. This initiative has been highly commended since its inception two months ago and was initiated with the aim of providing support for students who face adversities in learning due to COVID 19 outbreak.
In addition to these key programs, STEMUp is conducting multiple projects island wide with its local and international partners such as Sri Lanka Telecom, Commercial Bank, Colombo AI academy, MilleniumIT ESP, Raspberry PI Foundation, Micro:bit Educational Foundation and CoderDojo Foundation.
STEMUp.lk website provides valuable learning resources for IoT, Machine Learning, Computer Programming and it is constantly updated with details about upcoming programs and online training sessions.