WEST AFRICAN INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL FOR YOUNG ASTRONOMERS
The West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers (WAISSYA) is a program held every two years in West Africa. At each summer school, there are approximately 60 participants, mainly undergraduates, from across West Africa. Organized and taught by a collaboration of international astronomers, the main goals of WAISSYA are:
- Contribute to building a critical mass of astronomers in West Africa
- Contribute to empowering young West Africans in becoming scientific leaders
- Share ideas about teaching and learning between West Africa and North America / Europe.
To achieve those goals, the innovative WAISSYA program is informed by research in science education: it focuses on developing instructors’ teaching practices, and on “inquiry”, a paradigm in which students ask and investigate their own mini-research questions in small teams. We use research-based surveys and student reflections to measure student learning, and revise our curriculum for future summer schools based on the results. WAISSYA alumni are now attending graduate programs across the globe including in countries such as Canada, Portugal and Cameroon, as well as serving as teachers, scientists and engineers at home.