The Space Science Systems Research Institute (SSSRI), an independent research institute, has announced plans to train 1000 girls at the basic and senior high schools nationwide in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) estimated to cost about $200,000.
The programme, with the slogan: “Get 1000 Girls in STEM Education” is designed to ignite young girls’ interest in STEM education, inspire creativity and curiosity in females through hands-on practical activities and fight stereotypes and obstacles facing girls in the country.
Mr Kow Nketsia-Richardson, the Director of Communications at the Research Institute, made this known in Accra, on Monday, during the celebration of this year’s United Nations International Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The UN Day was marked on the theme: “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”.
Mr Nketsia-Richardson noted that the training would stimulate critical-thinking skills, foster collaboration and prioritise problem-based learning, which would drive innovation and fuel economic success.
“Our goal is that through demonstrations, conversations and engaging in hands-on practical base experiments presented by women in STEM education, young girls will become empowered, cultivate confidence, and develop a deeper understanding that everything is possible in life.
“We have been promoting STEM education among schools in a holistic and coherent manner, with strategies that embrace renewing the curricula of STEM education and enriching the learning activities for students.
“We also provide learning and teaching resources, enhance professional development of students and teachers, as well as strengthen partnerships with community stakeholders and maintain professional communities,” he explained.
Ghana has persistent inequities in access, participation, and success in STEM subjects that existed along socio-economic, gender, and geographic lines, as well as among students with disabilities.
According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide were women and only 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.
Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in Information Communication Technology, which is about three per cent, natural science, mathematics and statistics (five per cent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (eight per cent).
There have been long-standing biases and gender stereotypes that scare women and girls from science related fields.
In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution and declared February 11 every year as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Therefore, in 2015 and 2016, the Research Institute also initiated the agenda to improve STEM education in Ghana, Mr Nketsia-Richardson stated.
Over the last two decades, Ghana had invested heavily in improving access to, and enhancing the quality of STEM education as part of efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals to increase the number of science students in the country’s technical institutions by a minimum of 60 per cent.
Mr Nketsia-Richardson commended President Nana Akufo-Addo-led Government’s educational reforms, with plans to devote a minimum of 1 per cent of the country’s gross domestic products towards the promotion of research and development expenditure of STEM education in the country.
He noted that government’s move showed that STEM education had been recognised as a key driver of opportunity to equip learners with knowledge, hands-on skills and disposition to effect changes in the society.