L’École du Progrès Bamako, Mali
Soumaïla Maïga, Director of the 2nd Cycle, L’École du Progrès
L’École du Progrès (The School of Progress), founded in 1992, has been one of the leading centers of educational excellence in Bamako for over 20 years. We combine a modern, progressive approach to learning with the ideal of service…to the community, to our nation, and to the world.
The motto of our school is “Apprendre pour savoir, savoir pour agir, agir pour server” – Learn to know, know to act, act to serve. We were delighted, but not surprised, when one of our alumni, Mohamed Kanté, though busy pursuing a successful career in the United States as an Electrical Engineer, proposed to partner with the L’École du Progrès on iNERDE’s first Colonie de Vacances STEM (STEM Summer Camp) in the summer of 2014. We are very proud to see Mohamed and all of our graduates undertaking concrete actions to develop their country and our continent.
The first Colonie de Vacances STEM was a wonderful experience for 30 of our 4th and 5th grade students and we are very excited at the prospect of having iNERDE come back next year with a bigger and better program.
We have about 65 students in the 4th and 5th grades who study a solid program of STEM subjects focused on, among other subjects, plants, the human body, simple machines, weights and measures, addition, subtraction, writing out numbers, and fractions. However, unlike the developed and strongly industrialized countries, “tech” is a not part of our daily lives or an integral part of the environment of the Malian student. The iNERDE Colonie de Vacances STEM is a wonderful complement to our program because it gives our kids and our teachers exposure to learning materials and a perspective…well, from the future, the future for Mali we want our kids to imagine and, one day, create.
Another area that is quite important to our school is the promotion of equal opportunity for women. We are aware that there is a lot of discussion in the United States about under-representation of women in STEM fields and negative attitudes toward STEM that many girls develop early in their education. We have the same problem in Mali and L’École du Progrès is strongly committed to combatting it. We are confident that iNERDE’s Colonie de Vacances STEM will strengthen our efforts in this area, given that its methodology incorporates mentorship aiming to develop in each student confidence in themselves with respect to their ability to learn and use STEM.
L’École du Progrès would welcome the support of a sponsor for the Colonie de Vacances STEM 2015 as very few of our parents would be able to bear the cost of sending their children to this kind of special program. Our kids need this educational summer camp to reach their fullest potential; help us to help them to their right to a quality education that puts them on same level as students in the developed countries. The sponsor will have full access to review all activities of the summer camp and the iNERDE team will cordially invite the sponsor to participate directly in the camp if this is desired by them.
As the demographic expansion of Africa continues, young Africans will be called to play a increasingly important role in the world economy. Let us seize this opportunity to construct a bridge between “north” and “south”, the developed countries and the emerging countries, as our destinies are inextricably linked.
We welcome you to Mali to share your experience and knowledge with us and to participate in the exciting transformation sweeping Africa.