The world as we know it is changing at an exponential rate, the new world has placed a new demand for countries to keep up and adapt in innovative ways. Developing countries are increasingly being left behind and access to new skills and capabilities is ever more inadequate. The African continent is being presented with an opportunity for scientific participation with the global community via Astronomy and Big Data with the coming Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Telescope. African countries are now growing and joining the ranks of other emerging economies but there is a need to harmonize science into society for sustained impact. The challenge with such a delicate stage of development is universal and equal access.
One of the main challenges in Mauritius and small insular developing countries is to achieve high value added output in Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is undeniable that education and training lead to a skilled labor force that is better able to produce and apply new knowledge or apply existing knowledge to new contexts. The overall reason that innovation, knowledge, and technology are such powerful drivers of economic growth is that, unlike capital and labor, they do not suffer from diminishing returns. According to the Growth Theory, put forward by the Economics Nobel Laureate Robert Solow, governments can promote economic development through a variety of means. These include supporting education and training to develop a more educated work force, stimulating capital investment, stimulating a reallocation of resources from low productivity to higher productivity industries, and promoting technological progress and innovation.
Teaching digital literacy is essential but is not sufficient since ICT keeps changing rapidly. What is learned today can become inadequate tomorrow. In 2012 Intel and Ashoka (private company in India) came together to invest in technology-based innovations on a global level. Through their studies, the key success ingredients they propose to social entrepreneurship are to: incorporate hands-on experiences in real- world situations, cultivate life skills, and the other 21st century skills that are needed to ensure lifelong learning such as creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration and to design a program to ensure that students’ have increased employability and self- sufficiency, and also that they are using ICT to solve social problems.
The proposed project consists of running a Joint Exchange Development Initiative (JEDI) type workshop related to Machine Learning in Astronomy and Social Sciences. It will bring together experts in the field of Big Data, Machine Learning, Astronomy and Social Sciences to seek out how we can all work together for Social uplift.
Dr Patrice Okuma (Gabon) explaining astronomy to the Mauritian JEDIans at a self funded workshop in 2013.
People drive change and our mission is to empower local individuals to achieve that. To be able to benefit from this social initiative and enable young learners to take the Scientific mindset and skills to transfer them back into society to fuel economic growth.
We present a new workshop ecosystem for social innovation through advanced data analytics. Our goal is to bridge scientific and analytical capabilities with civil society sectors via a novel educational approach. This will be achieved by equipping new generation learners with tools and skills to tackle socio-economic problems.
The JEDI workshop model goes beyond the traditional workshop format and is proving to be very useful format that has now been adopted by various teams as one of their Human Capacity Development models. JEDI involves: contribution, enhancement, development, sharing and creativity.
1. An innovative methodology to train learners with various analytical and research skills to enhance development and education via a direct transfer of skills.
2. Provides development through joint exchange among stakeholders and has been identified as an excellent educational tool in the SKA African partner countries where the teaching expertise remains limited.
3. To date the JEDI has been run in South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Namibia and Mozambique.
Team building exercise is also part of our programme. It is not always easy to communicate under stress and when participants are unfamiliar with each other.
Mauritan students part of the 2015 JEDI workshop
Past JEDIs were run in Mauritius (since 2011), resulting in 8 students being enrolled in postgraduate studies and some benefitting from the SKA bursaries. Prior to 2011 there were no students going for post-graduate studies in astronomy even though we had a Radio Telescope and have been teaching astronomy and astrophysics since 1992. The main reason was there was no source for postgraduate funding in astronomy and no scope for job opportunities.
From the 2015 JEDI workshop, the first undergraduate students published a refereed paper on “Classifying bent radio galaxies from a mixture of point-like/extended images with Machine Learning”
To date there has been a dozen of refereed publications that have also come out of the JEDI workshops.
Interaction with Prof Bruce Bassett (AIMS/UCT/SAAO) during the Namibia JEDI.
- Advance Linux/Python
- Cloud Computing
- Big Data and Machine Learning
- Projects around Big Data and Machine Learning:
-- Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)
-- Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
-- Social Media Data analysis
-- Business analytics using Big Data for Development
-- Exploring Hospital Quality
- Education and Public Outreach Techniques in Astronomy (EPO)
-- Public Speaking
-- Event Planning and Management
-- Stakeholder Engagement
- Business Coaching for Developing Astronomy for Social Advancement
-- Fundraising Basics
-- Audience Analysis
-- Project Management and Strategic Planning
Your support will make a life long difference.
Dr Nadeem Oozeer - Chair (SKA SA/AIMS/NWU - South Africa/Mauritius)
Tasneem Rossenkhan - LOC Chair (BeeCubes)
Prof Bruce Bassett (AIMS/UCT/SAAO - South Africa)
Dr Yabebal Fantaye (AIMS ARETE Junior Chair holder)
Rajin Ramphul (PhD student - South Africa/Mauritius)
Emmanuel Dufourq (PhD student - South Africa/Mauritius)
All donations will go towards direct expenses of the workshop for local Mauritian students.
We have some funding for hosting a few African students from one of our partner organizations.
Crowd sourced funding will provide for:
* 10 Mauritian students for the 5 day workshop to cover food and conference attendance.
* 2 Mauritian students studying in South Africa to be tutors for the workshop, as a way to share their experience and show opportunities to their peers.
If we succeed to get more funding, we will be able to provide opportunities for other underpriviledged students to participate.
We have very little risk to NOT run the project since some partial funding has been received from the International Astronomical Union - Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU-OAD). However, this will cover only 5 Mauritian students.
1. Funding for Astronomy in small insular developing countries is very scarce. This is one of the reason we look for crowdfunding to help us attain our objective.
2. Mauritius is isolated from the rest of the active research world in Astronomy.
Flights to and from Mauritius are quite expensive and no regular workshop in Astronomy are run for the local students. We have been trying to bring at least one post-graduate level workshop in the Island since 2011, through various proposal grants and hope to continue with this initiative for the future and also for other developing countries.
High costs are incurred to bring experts in the field for workshops and the lack of funding deny locals access to these workshops.
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not.” – Yoda.
No amount is too small when is comes to making a difference. Your name/institution will be acknowledged on our final report.
“To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night.” - Yoda.
Your name/institution will be acknowledged on our final report.
"Luminous beings are we" - Yoda.
You will receive a warm thank you from and acknowledged in our final report.