Curriculum review underway to focus on STEM — Dr Adutwum

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, inspecting an exhibition mounted at the STEM Education stakeholder meeting in Accra
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, inspecting an exhibition mounted at the STEM Education stakeholder meeting in Accra

A review of the country’s educational curriculum to reflect current trends by focusing more on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is underway.

The review, informed by the Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah Committee, would mainly border on how best to improve the junior and senior high school programmes.

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, who made this known to the media at a STEM Education stakeholder meeting in Accra last Tuesday, observed that the country’s education system had outlived its relevance and needed to be reviewed.

The meeting was held under the auspices of the National Teaching Council (NTC) and the Ministry of Education.

It hosted personalities such as Dr Christian Addai-Poku, the Registrar of the NTC;  Dr Thomas Mensah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Silicon Valley Ghana; Prof. Ernest Kofi Davis, the Provost of College of Education Studies of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), and Prof. Agyapong-Kodua, the Vice Chancellor of the Pentecost University.

Current education system

Dr Adutwum stated that the current education system in the country did not favour the weak or underprivileged students and needed to be improved upon.

“We are currently not at the implementation stage but Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, an educationist, is leading a committee that is looking into the secondary education space in terms of curriculum and other important aspects.

“For me, the junior high school (JHS) system is the weakest link in our education system at this time because that level is just like the primary school stage and that does not deliver a robust secondary school system, and so we need to improve it,” he said.

Govt plans

The minister stated that the government was planning to institute measures to reduce the elective subjects of JHS students who could not read or write.

That, he said, was aimed at ensuring that students at JHSs were able to, at least, read and write by the time they completed school.

“It is worrying and unacceptable that students who cannot read or write are still given many elective subjects to do in school rather than focusing on literacy and writing skills courses.”

Dr Adutwum said it was better to offer students who could not read or write additional literacy courses than being offered additional elective courses which did not help them to read or write.

Integrated STEM education

Prof. Davies noted that UCC had designed a comprehensive programme that would prepare as many graduates as possible to support integrated STEM education and related activity.

He said going forward, programmes such as one-year Master of Education in STEM Education, four-year Bachelor's degree programme in Integrated and four-year Bachelor's degree with Minor Integrated STEM Education would be rolled out.

"UCC plans to immediately start the programme that will prepare as many graduates as possible to support integrated STEM education and related activity with the rest following subsequently," he said.

He called on the government to adopt a collaborative approach among key stakeholders to implement integrated STEM education in the country.

Prof. Agyapong-Kodua added that introduction of STEM education in senior high schools and at the tertiary level would provide and promote quality education that would compete with international standards and give teachers equal comfort.