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Scholars take on the challenge of solving STEAM problems

Scholars take on the challenge of solving STEAM problems

  • 30 May 2022
20220521 143308

(Picture caption: Toloa Scholarship recipients take on the Toloa Pacific STEAM School Challenge 2022.) 

Minimising damage from volcanic ash and packaging products to reduce waste are just some of the challenges students face in the Toloa Pacific STEAM School Challenge 2022.   

Launched in May, the inaugural Toloa STEAM Challenge is taking place at four venues, including two challenges in Auckland, one in Palmerston North and one in Christchurch.   

It is a new initiative introduced as part of the Toloa programme, which supports Pacific peoples at all stages of their life, to pursue studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) pathways.   

This year, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) offered the Toloa Secondary School Scholarships for the first time, and 238 students from around Aotearoa were successful recipients.   

Toloa National Manager Ana Fiu says using their strengths, the scholars will get the opportunity to collaborate and work together at the STEAM Challenge events, to solve a significant topic of challenge with a real-life context.   

“This is a creative and problem-solving challenge which encourages innovation and exploratory learning,” Ana says.   

Events have already been staged in Christchurch and Auckland, delivered by youth-focused organisations Young Enterprise and Vaka over two days, allowing students to experience teamwork, collaborative thinking, brainstorming and goal focused exercises.  

“The competitive atmosphere in the challenge definitely adds to the teams’ sense of determination and consolidation,” Ana says.   

“These events are also an opportunity for students to get to know their teammates from different schools and at the same time, help their school solve problems and challenges.”   

At the Christchurch event, scholars gave the challenge event an overall rating of 97.5 percent, Ana adds.   

“Feedback from the facilitators indicated the marked confidence and stepping up observed among the learners over the two days.   

“Some of the students had never attended an event such as this.   

“The cultural component was a highlight of the event whereby much effort was made to create a safe and supportive environment for the learners.”   

The remaining events will take place in Palmerston North on June 10-11.   

Visit the MPP website for more information on the Toloa programme.