Make national education curriculum STEM-led — KNUST Vice-Chancellor

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Prof Rita Akosua Dickson (right), Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum (3rd from right), Minister of Education, and Rev Joseph Ntim Fodjour (2nd from right), Deputy Minister of Education, and other members of the audience watching a zoom presentation
Prof Rita Akosua Dickson (right), Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum (3rd from right), Minister of Education, and Rev Joseph Ntim Fodjour (2nd from right), Deputy Minister of Education, and other members of the audience watching a zoom presentation

The Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Mrs Rita Akosua Dickson, has advocated an overhaul of the national education curriculum at all level to be science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-led.

“If the focus is to churn out graduates with the requisite skills to respond to the demands of national transformation, then the curriculum, which serves as a guide for training, and formation of our manpower needs, must reflect same,” she said.

Prof. Dickson said there must be a conscious effort on the part of all stakeholders in education to ensure that STEM education was hinged on critical thinking and hands-on experience.

Speaking on the second day of this year’s National Education Week programme in Accra on the topic, “Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Education and National Development”, she said there was the need to encourage the youth to study STEM-related programmes in the various universities in the country.

On the theme, “Reimagining education for national transformation,” the four-day event focuses on promoting STEM education in the country, especially among girls.

The event brought together stakeholders to review the performance of the sector in the previous year and to chart a new course for the sector for the overall improvement of education in the country.

Teachers

Prof. Dickson added that in developing a good curriculum, it must go hand-in-hand with training the teachers and technicians charged with the responsibility of administering the curriculum.

“Additionally, making available the necessary resources such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries and online resources increase the chances of developing that all-round graduate.

“I am, therefore, of the opinion that for the nation to succeed in training the necessary manpower to respond to the demands of national transformation, the teachers, lecturers, technicians and supporting staff should not be left out,” she further added.

Scholarship

Prof. Mrs Dickson suggested that the National Scholarship Secretariat could support the course for the study of STEM by devoting a portion of its scholarships to the study of STEM-related programmes at all levels for both male and female students.

“We must continue to work at ensuring that the teaching and study of STEM related courses is done in an abreast manner; and begin to make the learning of STEM more practical.

“That will enhance learning by our students and pupils, and inculcate into them a sense of appreciation of the potential of STEM. There should be conscious effort to demystify the study of STEM-related programmes, especially for the girl child,” Prof. Mrs Dickson proposed.

The Deputy Minister in charge of General Education, Rev. Joseph Ntim Fodjour, in a welcome address, said even though there had been significant achievement in the education sector, there was still lots of work to be done.

Education Strategic Plan

He said the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) expanding from 2018 to 2030 had key targets for education outcomes expected to be achieved.

“For instance, proficiency in literacy among Primary Two pupils is expected to reach at least 40 per cent by the year 2030 from a low of two per cent in 2016.

“At Primary Four, 65 per cent of students are expected to reach proficiency in English and 50 per cent are expected to reach proficiency in Mathematics, while in Primary Six, at least 65 per cent of students are expected to reach proficiency in English and 55 per cent in Mathematics,” he said.