STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics which is acknowledged by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The term was coined by scientific administrators at National Science Foundation in the United States in 2001 and has since gained leverage globally.
STEM is a term which is typically used in the context of education and skills. The need for STEM education in the socio-economic development of a country cannot be overemphasised. Unfortunately, African nations lag in STEM education outputs compared to the rest of the globe. According to the African Development Bank, less than 25% of students in higher education in Africa are majoring in STEM subjects.
The bulk of students is majoring in social sciences and humanities. Comparatively, over 30% of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, over 50% of research doctorates, and nearly 65% of professional doctorates in the United States are in STEM fields. Because of this, the economic development gap between Africa and the rest of the globe has grown even wider, hurting African nation’s ability to innovate.
Stem education in Ghana
Ghana is making investments to reach its educational goals. On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana, officially announced the Free Senior High School policy to create an inclusive society where everyone may have access to education.
By the end of 2021, the government had spent GH5.3 billion to fund the Free SHS initiative, which allowed 1,261,495 Ghanaian youngsters to attend secondary school. The mid-year budget was presented to the legislature by Mr Ken Ofori Atta.
The value and appreciation of vocational education as a means of lowering unemployment is being acknowledged, and the improvement of STEM courses to address current issues in the nation has become the topic of the day.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Education minister, on TV3 midday news on January 23, 2023, in reiterating the government’s agenda to promote STEM, said: “It’s about meeting the demands of the 21st-century industrial revolution as a country and capitalising on it and use education as a tool for our socio-economic transformation” this can be found from the 28th minute, 40 seconds of the hour video.
21st century stem SHS portal open for prospective students
According to a Ghana news agency, the Ministry of Education (Ghana Education Service, TVET service, free SHS & CSSPS) gave notice to prospective SHS students and parents about the opening of the 21st Century Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics School Placement Portal for the 2023 academic year.
How to access the 21st-century SHS portal
You can access the portal by visiting www.STEM-SSP.COM.GH to select the preferred school and program.
Students must enter their ten digits index numbers and date of birth for verification to log in.
List of some stem SHS schools
The government has built four STEM schools. Jachie in Ashanti Region, Bosomtwi in Ashanti Region, Abomusu in Eastern Region, and Kpasempke in the Northern Region. Five projects are ongoing, and 120 ultramodern facilities.
STEM education career pathways are computer science, aviation, aeronautics, engineering, biomedical science, and global studies.
With the policy in place, we wait to see how its objectives are achieved in the coming years.
This report was produced under the DUBAWA Non-urban Journalists Mentorship project aimed at promoting a culture of truth and verification in non-urban newsrooms in Ghana with support from the US Embassy.