Atiwa, 18th August, 2020.
In line with the vision to promote STEM education in Africa, Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation has donated robotics kits valued at over GHC 60,000 to the Atiwa West District.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director of the foundation, Seth Ogoe Ayim acknowledge the support of Chet Harmer, former head of HP computers, and the Harrison Sisters Maryln and Pattie+, retired US educators who have dedicated their time to actively supporting STEM education. They raised the 60,000cedis to procure the kits and are still willing to continue the support of STEM education in the district to encourage and engage children in STEM education.
Mr. Ayim highlighted a recent report by the Mastercard Foundation, estimating that by 2050 there will be 450 million youth between the ages of 18 to 25 in Africa. “Africa has the youngest population but education and skills are changing”. He stressed the need for young people to acquire hands-on skills in education, ostracizing the “chew, pour, pass, and forget” culture of Ghanaian education, as international organizations will be looking to recruit skills in Africa. He encouraged teachers to also take advantage as the report points out that in the next 20 years there will be the need for 1.5 million teachers to teach STEM across Africa.
STEM In Atiwa
Desiring to promote STEM education in the district, Seth Ogoe Ayim first contacted Mrs. Vida E. Paaku, the now retired District Director of Education, with the proposal to train teachers and students in Asonapo. Realizing the immense value of the programme she suggested that it be extended to the whole district.
The first training took place in Abomosu in December, 2019 and another later held in Abomosu for teachers who were not present for the first training January, 2020. The donation of the kits in line with putting to practice the knowledge that was imparted during the training.
At the event Mrs Vida stressed the importance of STEM knowledge and skills, encouraging students to be studious and be enthusiastically engaged in the STEM robotics program.
Also present, the District Director of Education in Atiwa West District, Victoria Dakoa Bampo, who expressed concern on how Ghanaians students excel in theoretical knowledge but are deficient when it comes to application.
Addressing the ubiquitous quality of ICT and its surge into the sphere of everyday life, she underscored the need to equip the upcoming generation with requisite skills in STEM education. Qualifying the intervention by Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation as key to development of Ghana, she pledged to do all within her power to the see the success of the program.
In a world that is fast-changing like ours, there is the need to adapt to the tides to survive. This was the underlying theme of Isaac Akomaning Asamoah who is District Chief Executive for Atiwa West. He expressed gratitude to Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation for “bringing the change that we need to the district”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has the form of education worldwide the one thing moving education forward is technology with almost all schools going online making us realize the significance of technology. He also reiterated the need for students to upgrade themselves with technologies.
The donation of STEM robotics kits is in line with preparing students in the Atiwa West District for international competitions, starting with STEM clubs and competitions among schools in the six circuits at the local level.
Mastercard Foundation 2020 Report
Findings in the 2020 report by the Mastercard Foundation indicate changes in the nature of work, placing a premium on skills that help young people be adaptable, resilient, and creative problem solvers. Robotics education is that kind that provides relevant skills to students by improving their productivity, which will in the long run play a pivotal role of driving long-term economic growth and reducing poverty in Africa.
Launch of STEM Awards
Two awards were launched at during the event namely the STEM Inspiration Award in honour of the former District Director of Education, Mrs. Vida E. Paaku and the Lifetime Teacher’s Service award in honour of Mr. Sampson P Ayim who has served as a teacher and headmaster in the Atiwa District for over 35 years.