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SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS (STEM)
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. “STEM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work and the global enterprise, enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy.”
In this information age, STEM graduates are in great demand to meet current and future workforce needs e.g. one needs to be computer literate to get a job in the banking sector especially to make presentations, analyze applications for loans, etc.
Jaksally’s goal for implementing this programme is to increase interest and achievement in STEM through campaigning to expose, motivate and inspire students to excel in STEM subjects. Jaksally will collaborate with other partners working on improving STEM opportunities and awareness in Northern Ghana, especially for the ‘girl child’ of socially excluded Widows and Widowers.
The curriculum of STEM is based on four disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
Currently these disciplines are taught in Ghanaian schools as separate and discrete subjects and there is a reducing trend in the number of students showing interest in these traditional subjects. STEM however integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. According to the Ghana Education Service, only 16 percent of Junior high school students are interested in a STEM career and have proven a proficiency in mathematics. According to the Ghana Education Website in collaboration with UNESCO “Currently, nearly 28 percent of Junior high school freshmen declare an interest in a STEM-related field, a department website says, but 57 percent of these students will lose interest by the time they graduate from high school”. This means that interest is waning among them.
11th February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and a reminder that many women and girls around the globe continue to be excluded from participating fully in science education and careers. (Source; Ghana Education Service Website). Ghana is no exception. Girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in secondary schools is still lower than that of boys. There are many factors that influence girls’ participation in science, including a false belief among girls that science-related subjects are more suited for boys; widow’s girls are even more disadvantaged. “Currently, only 3% (29 out of 855 girls) of girls read pure science - physics, chemistry, biology - in the three Senior High Schools in the Bole Senior High, Tuna Senior Tech and Sawla Senior High. This is not good enough.
As a result, Jaksally Development Organisation (Jaksally) has planned a STEM Summer Schools "Educate to Innovate" campaign to expose, motivate and inspire more students to take interest in and to excel in STEM subjects. This campaign will also target the lack of adequate teachers in STEM subjects.
Project Goal and Objectives
The goal is to support widows and widowers children/girls students from the bottom of the subject in science and math to the top of the subject in the international arena.
To create awareness, sensitize to increase participation of 370 widow girls in STEM-related courses in secondary schools and higher levels (tertiary) of education in the three northern regions of Ghana.
To expose and create an opportunity for target girls to interact with role models as this will boost girl’s morale and interest in the STEM subjects.