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Government builds STEM centres in pre-tertiary schools

BY: Timothy Gobah
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh

 The government is building Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres across the country as a way to facilitate and improve the application of science in national development.

The centres, which will focus more on practicals, seek to integrate STEM into the curriculum of pre-tertiary schools and allow students to explore and experience hands-on dimension of the initiative.

Land secured

The Central Regional Planning Officer of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Emmanuel Woolhouse-Sackey, who announced this, added that land had been secured at Mfantsipim School in the Central Region for the commencement of the project.

Throwing more light on the programme, he said the project had been awarded to Messrs ROBO Group T.E.K Limited. The land was hand over to the Contractor on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

Mr Woolhouse-Sackey was addressing the Central Regional Coordinating Council meeting (attended by all metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) in Cape Coast) yesterday.

Commenting on the successes chalked up in the Basic Education (B-STEM), Mr Woolhouse-Sackey said in August 2018, 200 Mathematics and Science teachers from 100 basic schools were trained in ICT at the Opoku Ware SHS, with the second batch of 600 teachers trained in September in 2018.

Fee items

Mr Woolhouse-Sackey announced that the government had absorbed all the fee items for day students in senior high schools (SHSs) Form Three and, therefore, no day student should be made to pay any school fees.

Additionally, he announced that the fees for the boarders had also been subsidised.

Last semester, the management of the GES directed heads of SHSs to strictly comply with the stipulated fees for the 2018/19 academic year.

The management expressed concern that some heads of SHS were charging different levels of fees in public SHSs and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, especially for final year students.

Free SHS package

Mr Woolhouse-Sackey quoted a statement, signed by the GES Director-General, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwah, to all regional directors of education, which said: “As part of the free SHS package, the fees for Form One and  Form Two students (both day and boarding), as well as day students in Form Three, have been absorbed by the government.”

He said SHS students in their final year had already paid their first semester fees, adding that fees paid in excess of the restructured fees should be credited to the student’s account for the second semester.

Poor performance

The Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, called on all stakeholders to ensure that there was improvement in the performance of  students in public basic schools.

He said the poor performance of public basic schools in the region was alarming, adding that the efforts of everyone would be needed to correct the situation.

On security, Mr Duncan said the Central Regional Police Command was adopting new measures to flush out criminal gangs from the region.

He said statistics available had shown that there was a decline in the crime rate in the region, adding that the security situation was also relatively stable.