JHS students dazzle President - Showcase road safety innovation at Jubilee House
“This is the most unusual afternoon for me. A lot of people come here but I don't think any of them has ever done what I have seen.
“I can only say I am astonished and delighted at what is taking place here. I want to congratulate you. You have come and illuminated my day today.”
These were the words of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo when students of the Uaddara Junior High School (JHS) in Kumasi presented an electronic road safety device they have assembled to him at the Jubilee House yesterday.
A six-member all-female team of the school developed the device known as “Illuminated Child Safety Device”, which is intended to boost efforts to reduce accidents involving pedestrians.
It is the product of a desperate concern over the students’ own safety and a combination of ingenuity and craft, which won the school the Overall Best Award at the Ghana Science and Technology Explorer Prize (G-STEP) in Accra recently.
The Uaddara JHS took home a plaque and GH¢80,000 to be used for STEM equipment and materials.
The team was led by Priscilla Appiah, and has Akua Acheampomaa Appau, Comfort Boampomaa Essel, Pricilla Osei Tutu, Princess Helen Korankye Agyemang and Persis Oppong Agyemang as the other members.
The device is a system with an alarm that draws the attention of oncoming vehicles, while the pedestrian uses a detachable panel to cross the road.
The disability-friendly panel has a “stop” light button which switches on at night.
The eight-feet tall device, according to the developers, was invented to solve road accidents involving pedestrian pupils, who were knocked down by speeding vehicles on their way to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
Consider adopting device
After watching the students demonstrate the workings of the device, President Akufo-Addo asked the ministries of Roads and Highways and Transport to consider adopting it to help reduce road accidents in the country.
The President said although the intention of the pupils was to find a mechanism for reducing accidents in their locality, they had, in doing so, developed a mechanism that could help reduce road crashes across the nation.
President Akufo-Addo described the girls as the “next Einsteins”, emphasising that their work was an inspiration to their generation and stressed the need to work towards ensuring that the education offered to young people reflected the 21st century.
He said the current education system was science and technology-focused, explaining that the most extraordinary success story so far in the 21st century was the economy of China, which had 40 per cent of its students in tertiary learning institutions engaged in engineering and science.
President Akufo-Addo said these were the statistics the country was trying to achieve through the investment into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in order to transform the country.He urged the students to study even harder to become the greatest inventors.
President Akufo-Addo made an undisclosed cash donation to the students.
The Headmistress of the school, Theresa Achiamaa, said the team who invented the device was the inspiration and backbone of the school.
She urged the students to work even harder as they pursued their academic dreams.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, said the G-STEP competition was in line with the government’s agenda to ensure the practical expression of STEM policy that would bring out the creative abilities and innovative wits of young ones.
He said the competition attracted entries that sought to address issues in areas that included health, education, industry, water and electricity.
In all, 50 out 622 prototypes made it to the final, with the Uaddara JHS winning the ultimate prize.
Rev. Fordjour said the competition was an indication that the reinvigoration of STEM education was possible to turn around the fortunes of the country.