The Minister of Education Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum has on this day, 8th November, 2021 given a vivid A-Z educational update on the use of STEM Education For Socio-Economic Transformation.
The event took place at Accra City University College Campus, Agbogba-Haatso in the Greater Accra Region.
Below are all the points and explanations the Education Minister excommunicated to the the good people of Ghana on how we can transform the fortunes of this nation with the use of STEM Education.
“STEM EDUCATION FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION”
The global trends in development suggest a strong correlation between education and the economy and that no country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in the human capital.
The First Industrial Revolution was characterized by the invention of the steam engine patented by James Watt in 1769. It was harnessed for Mechanical production and led to the transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. At that time, it was the most revolutionary technological and economic transformation the world had ever seen.
Our world is changing and changing rapidly.
We have moved from the First Industrial Revolution to the second, and third, and now live in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Second Industrial Revolution happened in 1870 and was characterized by mass production powered by electricity and the assembly line’s invention, which led to exponential growth in the manufacturing industry.
The Third Industrial Revolution happened in
1969, with advances in computing and
programming leading to automation.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as integrating the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (Al), robotics, the Internet of Things (loT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantumcomputing and other technologies. It integrates cutting-edge production techniques and smartsystems with
organizations and people through technologies to drive and accelerate human progress.
During these periods of industrial advancement our country basically lost out, becoming facilitators of other countries’ progress -i.e, by mostly being at the consumption end of the process. I concede
that there have been longstanding systemic challenges in our educational system, but the Ministry is determined to confront them head on.
To fully participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as contributors of knowledge and innovation, the Ministry is repositioning the entire educational system to produce a critical mass of assertive and empowered Ghanaians equipped with the 21st Century skills (i.e., creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration) required to drive the country into economic prosperity beyond aid.
With a population of about 30 million, Ghana
produces about 6000 engineering graduates per year, whereas Vietnam, with a population of about 97 million, produces about 100,000 engineering graduates per annum. By this measure, Ghana should have been producing at least 30,000 engineers annually for the desired level of socio-economic transformation.
STEM education is a curriculum-based interdisciplinary and integrated approach to teaching and learning based on four specific areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It is a cohesive
learning paradigm based on real world applications under which students are given the opportunity to imagine, explore, create and to integrate project/ problem-based learning.
According to the US Department for Commerce (Engineering for kids’website, May 2021), STEM jobs are growing at 24% while other occupations are growing at 4%. This is consistent with the study by
the US Department of Education, which concluded that STEM graduates are in high demand.
Now more than ever, we are determined as a
Ministry to strengthen the implementation of
existing policies and introduce new approaches where necessary to facilitate our socio-economic progress.
The Ministry of Education is building 20 Regional STEM Centers in existing Senior High Schools and eleven (11) model state-of-the-art STEM Senior High Schools across the country, each of which shall be equipped with 12 laboratories that would be one of the best in the world! In addition, a STEM pathway will be established in some
existing Senior High Schools, which will benefit from an 13/28 additional four (4) laboratories.
The STEM schools will recruit staff with relevant skills and experience across the country for the effective and efficient implementation of the STEM programme.
The school will also engage the services of specialists such as Occupational Therapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, Special Education officers, Physical Therapists, Dean of Discipline, etc.
Training of personnel for STEM Education has already begun in earnest by some of the leading universities including University of Cape Coast, KNUST, UENR, UMaT,
etc. The National Teaching Council framework will ensure teachers are professionally trained and properly
licensed to deliver STEM education to the young people.
Our STEM programme will also address regional, rural-urban, and socio-economic disparities. Disparities exist between the north (plus Oti and Volta), and the southern part of the country in terms of educational outcomes, resource allocation and distribution including teacher deployment, textbooks distribution, infrastructure, etc.
STEM is the foundational competency required for the effective acquisition of technical and vocational skills.
Almost all TVET programmes require some level of science to be effective. The goals of STEM and TVET are employability and skill acquisition.
In operationalizing STEM, the Ministry will implement seven career pathways designed to provide a targeted, engaging curriculum for these students that will not only challenge them but are in line with the skills and content that tertiary institutions and the workforce are demanding.
The STEM Curriculum will start in lower secondary school and remove the bottleneck of boxing students into a “major” at an early age and provide them the opportunity to receive a well-rounded education that will optimize their future career choices. These pathways will include, Environmental
Science, Aeronautics, Aerospace and Aviation; Engineering and Computer Science; Manufacturing (Manufacturing
Engineering, Manufacturing Business), Agricultural Science; Biomedical Sciences, Global Studies and Creative Arts.
Given that everybody will be given the opportunity to learn Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Advanced Mathematics as
part of the course offering, a broader pipeline will be created for Science Enrolment at the tertiary level.
To further broaden the base for Science enrolment, the Ministry working with the Universities has introduced
Pre-Engineering Programme under which alternative pathways have been created fornon-science students to enroll in Engineering programmes at the University.
It is envisaged that at least 50% of these non-science students will come from Visual Arts programme.
In addition, the enrolment of students in science programmes between the north and south further worsens the divide.
Our STEM programme will address these disparities by;
1. Doubling science enrolment through introduction of Virtual High Schools and virtual labs
2. Ensuring that there is a teacher in each classroom in the north.
3. Providing teacher accommodation
4. Teachers owning their classrooms
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