Students advised to be interested in STEM education

Mr Seth Ogoe Ayim, the Chief Executive Officer of Bountiful Technologies Company Limited has advised students, especially girls to take keen interest in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme. This, he said, would bridge the gender gap in STEM education and empower the next generation of female leaders in Ghana. Speaking at the Girl Powered STEM Workshop in Accra to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, Mr Ayim said globally, 20 per cent women were in STEM, adding that ‘the girl power programme is to enable our girls to see STEM as fun.’ The Girl Powered STEM Workshop was organised by Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation and Bountiful Technologies Ltd in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Vex Robotics, REC Foundation and Goethe Institute, Accra. The workshop which saw over 200 girls in attendance from across public schools in Accra was on the theme ‘Explore Endless Possibilities’ Mr Ayim said STEM education was not only about equations and formulas but a gateway to innovation, problem-solving, and building a brighter future, saying ‘Every girl should have the opportunity to explore these fields and realize her full potential. ‘Research has shown that girls lose interest in STEM as early as in class two or third grade or second grade, so we want to make sure that these girls get excited. We don’t want them to wait till they go to high school or the university before we start to introduce STEM to them. ‘There should be an equal opportunity for girls to be able to compete with the boys or the men in technology. ‘As we know, women in our culture are always left behind so we want girls to come out of their comfort zone to compete with the boys or even contribute to society in terms of the digital economy,’ he said. Mr Ayim, therefore, appealed to Ghanaians to spread the word and inspire more young girls to pursue STEM careers and encouraged them to explore, be creative, and innovative. Mr Aaron Kwaku Twum Akwaboah, Director of Strategy and Innovation at the Ministry of Education said Ghana would only live up to its full STEM potential by supporting the efforts of girls and women in the STEM field. According to him ‘the Minister is very keen on STEM education and sees it as a way to transform the country’s fortunes and fulfil the Ghanaian dream.’ Dr Stella Asare, Deputy Director of Edutech noted that girls deserve an equal opportunities and representation in STEM fields, saying they have the potentials in contributing to the advancement of humanity and the planet but ‘they face barriers that prevent them from pursuing their dreams. ‘Some of these barriers include lack of access to quality education, lack of role models and mentors, lack of confidence and self-esteem, gender stereotypes and biases that discourage them from exploring their interests and talents in STEM,’ she added. Madam Miriam Amponsah, President Women in Engineering, the ECG Chapter, said ‘according to UNESCO’s 2020 Gender Report, girls’ enrolment in school has increased steadily over time’ adding that ‘however, there is still a great gender disparity in higher levels of education, example in STEM subjects.’ According to her, ‘over the years, we have carried out several Career Guidance and Mentorship programmes for females in JHS, SHS and the university.’ ‘Last year we organized a career guidance programme for girls in selected primary and JHS in Takoradi,’ she added. Madam Amponsah advised the students to embrace STEM with enthusiasm, curiosity, and confidence and ‘let it take you to places you have never imagined.’ She appealed to parents to motivate and encourage their children to take interest in STEM programmes saying guiding young girls at a tender age to take courses in STEM would go a long way to sustain their interest to stay in those fields. Mrs Victoria Ansah, National STEM Coordinator, Science Education Unit of Ghana Education Service said her outfit was working with the government to make STEM education easier for students, especially females. Madam Selina Appiah, President of Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation stated that it was possible for girls to pursue any of the STEM programmes, hence the need for the Foundation to organise the Girl-Powered Workshop. She said the organisation would reach out to various schools in the 16 regions in Ghana for them to know that girls could also pursue STEM programmes in schools. Madam Appiah appealed to the government and other stakeholders to support the foundation, saying it would go a long way to motivate the girls to develop interest and pursue STEM programmes in schools.

Source: Ghana News Agency