HOW IT ALL STARTED

It all began with a reflection of my early days in Primary school. I started recollecting vivid memories of school; of the early Monday morning math mental, the dictations, the mid-term and end of term exams, the canes and constant need to impress parents who desperately needed me to "do well" in class and 'become someone important in future". I remembered the relief whenever we heard the bell for break time and for closing. Those scenes were like a group of prisoners who suddenly received news of their freedom; if not for me, for most of my mates, that's how school felt like. We had committed teachers who were all trained in the old art of teaching but the truth was, they didn't seem to enjoy the classes themselves as much as they genuinely wanted us to do well. I started asking myself questions about the objectives of teaching and learning, the system put in place to deliver it, the teaching aids and delivery methods and realized there was a lot that could be done to improve the system. I believe every kid loves to have freedom to play and to explore. There is an inherent curiousity in every child. These are unique features which can be tapped very early on with a creative hands-on curriculum. I knew something needed changing even if I didn't know exactly what to do at the time. I began to study about what other successful countries were doing: Singapore, Finland, Canada etc and started exploring what we could do as well. After about a year, I had a well-thought out plan which I began to discuss with other like-minded friends who also believed something needed to be changed. This was the beginning of Smartix Education. First we had to define our goals. Our aim was not to upend the system but to support it to change. It wasn't a profit making venture; we just wanted a generation after us that will have a different experience of school and stop the production line of the formulaic, industrial-age cut-for-procedure type of students we churn out year in year out. We wanted students to enjoy school, play, be creative and learn not to solve exams questions but to solve real world problems. We introduced concepts like creative design which will engage students in interactive projects that explored theories and concepts studied and started designing them. We updated the math and science curriculum with new teaching aids, newly designed games that explain concepts and videos. We felt a combination of these could give students just what they needed in school. This was exactly what we saw during a first test of our materials at the Smartix Summer School at KNUST primary in 2018. We saw students who were excited about school, who were always present sometimes an hour before teachers arrived and who wanted to get their hands dirty learning to fix something. It gave us confidence that this could work and we are more committed now than ever in our mission. We believe we can transform tomorrow today.

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