Ahafoman SHS wins STEMNNOVATION competition
Thee Ahafoman Senior High School at Goaso in the Ahafo Region has emerged winner of the 2023 STEMNNOVATION competition.
Pitching a two-in-one generator prototype and incubator, the Ahafoman SHS beat 24 other senior high and technical institutions with 164 points in a tie breaker with Wesley Grammar School of Accra to win the ultimate prize of the second edition of the competition.
The generator, which is powered by solar, produces electricity, incubates eggs and processes food hygienically.
Ahafoman SHS was rewarded with GH¢50,000, a week’s paid trip to Japan for the three students and their coaches and a four-year scholarship to any tertiary institution in the country for the three-member team, a desktop computer, a printer, a trophy, certificates for the participants, among other souvenirs.
Second-placed Wesley Grammar, which finished with 150 points, and the second runner-up, Bosomtwe Girls SHS, which also finished with 143 points, received cash prizes of GH¢30,000 and GH¢20,000 respectively, a laptop and a printer to each school.
The three female contestants who represented the Ahafoman SHS, a mixed school, were also presented with the “Girls Team Award” of GH¢5,000, while their coaches were presented with mobile phones.
The Ahafoman girls were also adjudged the best in effective use of electricity, while Wesley Grammar was adjudged the best in urban gardening.
The representatives of the three top schools received medals, and science and mathematics-based textbooks, and a one-year accident insurance cover for the three members of each of the teams.
The competition was organised by the Ministry of Education through the Free Senior High School/TVET secretariat, in partnership with the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP).
Addressing participants in a ceremony to present the awards to the winners in Accra last Wednesday, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, indicated that the competition was initiated to provide a platform for students to create ideas and innovation through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as a problem solving initiative.
He emphasised that the competition was also to shift focus of the country’s education from rote learning, commonly referred to as the “chew and pour” method, to an innovative and practical-led approach.
Dr Adutwum urged the youth to mobilise themselves to work collaboratively to find solutions that would develop the country, and cautioned against any discouragement from political leaders that there was no hope for the country.
The minister underscored the importance of integrating Visual Arts and Home Economics into STEM with the aim to adapt innovation into diverse fields.
He, however, assured the students of the continuity of the competition to discover talents considered crucial for the country's development.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NEIP, Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, commended the Ministry of Education for the initiative to build on the ideas of young students, and to showcase innovations of STEM necessary for national development.
He said as the state agency responsible for entrepreneurship and innovation, the NEIP’s vision aligned with the objectives of the competition.
He said the agency, therefore, combined its efforts with the ministry by providing cash prizes to the top 10 finalists, and offered business development services to help commercialise the prototypes developed by the students while transforming them into effective tools to address societal challenges.
“We are undertaking these initiatives to ensure that the innovations developed here don't merely remain as research findings, as often seen in universities, but (to ensure that they) are commercialised to create tangible products that contribute to solving our socio-economic problems,” he emphasised.
Mr Nkansah further assured the youth of the agency’s commitment to support them to generate ideas and innovations to create employment opportunities and improve the standard of living in the country.
The other top 10 schools included Swedru SHS, Dabokpa Technical Institute, KNUST SHS, St Louis, Applied Technical and Bosomtwe STEM Academy which received GH¢10,000 each along with other souvenirs.
Swedru SHS won the best in clean water innovation.