Dr. Neema Mduma, a faculty member of the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), has been declared one among 20 Young Talents in Sub-Saharan Africa for the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Awards. Dr. Neema’s award is a recognition for her research titled: Data Driven Approach for Predicting Student Dropout in Secondary Schools. In this research, Neema and supervisors (Dr. Khamisi Kalegele and Dr. Dina Machuve) under the sponsorship of AfDB developed a Machine Learning web-based application called “BakiShule” to allow education stakeholders to easily predict and identify students who are at risk of dropping out of school for early intervention.

The selection was based on the quality of the application, scientific excellence in research and ability to communicate and promote science to young people. The 20 Young Talents were chosen among 330 applications by the jury of eminent scientists led by Prof. Nelson Torto, Executive Director of African Academy of Sciences (AAS). To support Young Talents from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Foundation L’Oré al-UNESCO will offer grants to winners, help them continue with their scientific work, with allocations of €10,000 for doctoral students and €15,000 for post-doctoral students. It is another milestone under the NM-AIST belt in embracing the Global Sustainable Goals of promoting women education especially in science field for sustainable development.