Investing in today’s youth to become tomorrow’s economic drivers – new practical skills for 160 students from Srebrenica and Bratunac

Aug 2, 2016

N-TIM Academy Inaugurated in Srebrenica (Photos by UNDP BiH)

Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina Young people need a solid understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics—STEM skills to function successfully in today’s world. Many vacancy posts today demand that students have critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills. It is widely accepted that successful STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators – which is increasingly seen as a means to boost economic growth[i].

This week, for the first time, 160 elementary school students from Bratunac and Srebrenica provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina have the opportunity to take courses in robotics, wire modeling, woodworking, and origami-kirigami through a new, one-month summer program at N-TIM Academy. The objective of N-TIM Academy is to equip young students in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the essential STEM skills necessary for future academic and professional development.

The N-TIM Academy was launched by the UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry Education Foundation (BUTGEM). IICPSD’s role in N-TIM is to support the transfer of knowledge and expertise through facilitating South-South collaboration and engaging the private sector in skills design and delivery. IICPSD shares its research and policy advisory experience on skills development, including know-how on field-tested modalities from various countries and regions.

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The role of the N-TIM Academy is to be the first, essential step, in bolstering a student’s understanding and confidence in STEM fields. To achieve this objective, it developed a hands-on curriculum that emphasizes practical STEM related work, develops communication and cooperation skills and strengthens children's self-esteem in problem solving.   

The private sector, particularly BUTGEM, is a key partner in the creation of N-TIM Academy. Its expertise and industry knowledge provide important insights into STEM fields and what tools and resources will be useful to future STEM leaders. The private sector also provides access to the latest technologies and labs that enhance student experiences.

The N-TIM Academy, guided by the principles outlined in the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, also emphasizes inclusion of female, poor and rural participants. Participation from these vulnerable populations ensures access to equal education opportunities and opens future career prospects that will foster a more inclusive and diverse labor force.

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The N-TIM Academy can act as a model for future youth STEM programs and be developed to meet the needs of any community looking to build a strong cohort of STEM experts.

*“N-TIM Academy” is modelled after summer schools organized annually by BUTGEM in Turkey, which has been shown to successfully increase children’s interest in science and technical occupations. BUTGEM has donated valuable advanced equipment adjusted for use by children in order to give the children from Srebrenica and Bratunac to discover their affinities to technical skills.

[1] Terrence E. Young, Jr (2015) “24/7 STEMulation: Reinventing Discovery” in School Library Management, 7th Edition, Eds. Gail K. Dickinson, Judi Repman, California, USA