Make STEM education essential tool for development - Deputy Education Minister charges African countries
A Deputy Minister of Education, Gifty Twum Ampofo, has called on African countries to make science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education an essential tool to develop the continent.
She said Africa had the numbers and democratic advantage and "so when we embrace these innovations and collaborate in the area of STEM, Africa would be a wonderful continent".
Ms Ampofo said this last Tuesday in Accra when she opened the 20th Conference on Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (COMSTEDA).
The three-day meeting, hosted by the National Teaching Council (NTC), formed part of the Strengthening of Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE) - Africa Delegates Meeting.
It is being attended by stakeholders in the area of STEM from about 15 African countries.
They include Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, Benin, Senegal, Mauritius and Rwanda.
Ms Ampofo said Ghana had made STEM education a priority and expressed the hope that it would work well for not only the country, but the continent as a whole.
STEM education, she said, was not merely an academic pursuit and that it was a transformative force that opened doors of opportunities, offering young minds the skills needed to tackle the challenges of the 21th Century.
Ghana, she said, took pride in hosting the conference being fully aware of fostering collaborative approach of STEM education, adding that “our commitments extend beyond these conference walls to the classrooms, laboratories and to our communities, where the future is being shaped.”
Ms Ampofo said by investing in innovative STEM education, the various countries would be investing in their foundation.
She encouraged the participants to let the conference be a melting pot of diverse perspectives, among others, to address the challenges faced by STEM education on the continent.
Ms Ampofo said with Africa and its various challenges, STEM would become a tool to get over all those challenges the continent faced.
The President of Strengthening of Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE), Dr Benson Banda, said if issues such as policy, practice, research, curriculum, teaching and learning were not given the necessary attention then STEM did not make sense.
He said there was the need for a call to action in transforming STEM education in Africa.
That, he said, included supporting resolutions for transformation, ministerial meeting for in-depth discussion and encouraging collaborative efforts to ensure that STEM education became a powerful tool for the continent’s progress.
The Deputy Registrar of the National Teaching Council and Chairman of the Planning Committee of the Conference, Lawrence Sarpong, said the conference marked a significant milestone in the countries collective efforts to enhance education in Africa and paved the way for a brighter and more innovative future.
He said the conference also served as a platform for intellectual discourse, exchange of ideas and the sharing of best practice.
The Chairman of the Board of the NTC, Anis Haffar, said the conference was as a beacon, guiding “us into a future where knowledge is shared across the board, across Africa to make our situation better.”