The Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Ghana, Elizabeth Ategou has admonished Mathematics and Science teachers in the country to use real-life situations in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in other to encourage girls to embrace these subjects.
Elizabeth Ategou was speaking at the climax of a STEM mentoring programme for girls from deprived communities in the Bono East Region held at Nkoransa.
The acronym STEM was introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the US National Science Foundation.
STEM-focused curriculum has been extended to many countries beyond the United States to countries such as Australia, China, France, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
In Ghana learning of Science and Mathematics by girls is a major challenge especially in rural communities.
In a quest to encourage girls to embrace STEM, over three hundred girls drawn from various Senior High schools in the Bono East Region have been mentored in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The objective of the programme was to allay the fear that comes with the study of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.
The mentorship programme was organized with support from the US Embassy in Ghana.
The girls were provided with critical insight into various STEM careers for them to make informed decisions about their future.
Speaking at the programme, the Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Ghana, Ms Elizabeth Ategou urged teachers to be innovative to inspire the girls in Ghana to embrace STEM. She noted that materials for STEM lessons are cheap and can easily be found in the environment.
“STEM are everyday skills. They are not just subjects that we learn from school but are things we apply in real-life situation. STEM is for girls and everybody. Teachers play an important role for young people in empowering and building the self-confidence of students especially girls. We need the teachers to encourage girls to stay in school. One of the main lessons that we like teachers to learn when they do STEM workshops is to empower kids and students to try things. There are a lot of experiments, there are a lot of resources online that teachers can access now that does not require a lot of expensive equipment to do STEM exercises.”
On his part, the Project Manager for the STEM project, Mr Alex Boadu, explained the motive behind the seminar and the way forward.
“US Embassy in Ghana has been sponsoring High Schools teachers to US for five months of professional development. I went to US in 2018 for a professional development programme so coming back, I saw that some of the girls in my community dislike Mathematics, Science and Technology so I took it upon myself to organize this programme title Promoting the learning of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics among girls in deprived communities in Bono East. So with this, I organized a workshop for teachers, I have mentored the girls to pursue STEM-related programmes in the future and organised remedial tutoring for the girls so I know that this is going to be of help to the girls and boost their confidence. The programme has been excellent because the girls can testify. I organised the programme based on a grant that I won, I competed with about 1000 people across the globe and my proposal was selected.”
Juliet Adu Baffour of Nkoransa Technical Institute in an interview said, “It has been able to identify our capabilities and the programmes we should go in for when going to the University. It has encouraged me because earlier I had in mind that some subjects are only for males but now I got to know that all courses and programmes are for both sexes. I have now encouraged myself now because formerly I was having an inferiority complex but now I am now 100 percent confident in myself irrespective of who I am I would be able to do anything in this world irrespective of my background.”