Celebrating continental Space Education excellence

The command pod ahead of the high-altitude balloon launch on July 7, in Ethiopia. On the same day, students from across the continent will graduate following completing the Pathways to Space programme. | Supplied

The command pod ahead of the high-altitude balloon launch on July 7, in Ethiopia. On the same day, students from across the continent will graduate following completing the Pathways to Space programme. | Supplied

Published Jun 23, 2024


Durban — Pathways to Space is set to celebrate its first cohorts of students next month following the completion of their programme.

The Pathways to Space is a ground-breaking educational initiative launched by South African non-profit organisation Future African Space Explorer’s STEM Academy (Fasesa). In partnership with Boeing, it will celebrate the graduation of its first cohort of students.

The ceremony will take place on July 7 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, honouring students from more than 13 schools in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Students will receive their certificates from Fasesa and Boeing, marking their successful completion of the Pathways to Space programme and the triumphant launch of a high-altitude balloon.

Fasesa founder and executive director Sean Jacobs said: “We are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of these young students. Their dedication and enthusiasm towards STEM and space exploration is truly inspiring. This graduation ceremony not only celebrates their studious efforts but also marks the beginning of their journey as future leaders in science and technology, particularly within the space industry.”

Fasesa project director Shaneil Maraj said: "We are proud to be a South African NPO that is making a difference not just in our country but across the continent. The support of big corporations is vital in the development of students. Through our partnerships with big corporations we believe we will see our vision come to fruition, we will see the next generation of African students become the pace-setters in the space Industry.

“We look forward to private companies, our national space agency (Sansa) and the departments of education and science and innovation coming on board with Fasesa to run this project across South Africa.”

FASESA project director Shaneil Maraj, with command pod, GPS tracker, altitude and radiation sensors and 3D cameras for the high-altitude balloon launch on July 7 in Ethiopia. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Fasesa said in its statement that Boeing's involvement underscored the importance of industry support in educational initiatives. By bridging the gap between theoretical learning and real-world application, Boeing and Fasesa were equipping students with the necessary skills to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of aerospace and technology.

This event highlights the programme’s commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that students from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to engage with and succeed in STEM fields.

Pathways to Space is more than an educational programme, it is a catalyst for change, shaping the future of STEM education in Africa. As we celebrate the achievements of these students, we look forward to witnessing their contributions to the global scientific community.

In attendance will be esteemed guests, including ministers from the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, officials from the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, and representatives from Boeing and Fasesa. This event signifies a monumental achievement in advancing STEM education and fostering a new generation of space enthusiasts and innovators.

Pathways to Space is designed to immerse high school learners in a unique and innovative curriculum that combines practical aerospace knowledge and STEM education. By providing students with hands-on experiences, such as payload and satellite building and the high-altitude balloon launch, the programme aims to inspire curiosity and cultivate critical thinking skills. This initiative is a testament to the power of collaboration between Fasesa, Boeing, and national space agencies, including the Ethiopian Space Science and Geospatial Institute, and the National Space Research and Development Agency in Nigeria.

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