Opinions Tue, 25 Jan 2022

International Education Day: The prospects of STEM education in Ghana

The United Nations marks every January 24 as International Day of Education to commemorate the role education plays in international peace and development.

This year’s day, which is the fourth celebration of the day since it was instituted in 2019, is held under the theme “Changing Course, Transforming Education.”

Ghana’s quest to transform and improve education with the introduction of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum in schools appears to be in line with the theme.

STEM is an approach to learning and development that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and aims at building capacities of students in problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, and analysis.

Government is using the project to reposition the educational system to equip learners with the 21st-century skills to be fit for purpose.

It is also to prepare the critical mass of empowered Ghanaians for socio-economic transformation and become active participants in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, has said the initiative would be a priority in Ghana’s education to prepare students for the job market and make them globally competitive.

The Minister said that the country’s education system had outlived its relevance and needed to be reviewed, saying, the review should reflect current trends by focusing more on STEM.

He stressed that the government's agenda to promote STEM education was part of a grand plan to increase the Science - Humanities ratio from the current 40:60 to 60:40 in favour of the Sciences.

This quest by government has necessitated the building of 11 model state-of-the art STEM SHS across the country, which will be equipped with 12 laboratories and a STEM pathway established in some existing Senior High School (SHS) with four laboratories.

On improving students’ interest in the programme, government has introduced a one-year pre-engineering course for SHS graduates without science background.

The programme, the Minister said, would be piloted at the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT) and Pentecost University.

Students will be taught in physics, chemistry, elective mathematics, technical drawing and Information and Communication Technology and when successful, they will be admitted topursue engineering course of their choice at the universities.

The initiative is to encourage Arts students who have the desire to offer engineering programmes in the universities to do so.

In a related development, the Minister indicated that gender inclusivity will be a feature in the rollout.

He said government has allocated land for the construction of a girls’ STEM Senior High School (SHS) in Kpone Katamanso in the Graeter Accra Region.

According to him, there is also a rollout plan for special students in the programme in their various schools.

To conclude, Ghana’s quest to “Changing Course, Transforming Education” can, indeed, be achieved through the adoption of STEM.

STEM has the potential to propel the socio-economic development of the country through industrialisation and job creation.
Columnist: GNA
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