The Space Science System Research Institute (SSSRI) is set to train 1000 girls in Basic and Senior High Schools across the country in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The private research institute, in commemoration of the United Nations 2019 International Women and Girls, wants to use STEM to spark new interests, make real-life connections, and fight stereotypes and obstacles facing young girls and women in Ghana.
“STEM training must be made a priority for all females to stimulate critical-thinking skills, fosters collaboration and prioritizes problem-based learning, which drives innovation, the fuel for economic success,” SSSRI stated in a press statement.
The training dubbed “Get 1000 Girls in STEM Education” is estimated to cost about $200,000.
In support of the UN theme “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”, the SSSRI 2019 programme is designed to inspire creativity and curiosity in females through engaging hands-on practical base activities that demonstrate and integrate science, technology, engineering, and math.
“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 and in the world,” the statement read.
Read the statement below:
Ghana has persistent inequities in access, participation, and success in STEM subjects that exist along socioeconomic, gender, and geographic lines, as well as among students with disabilities.
According to UNESCO data (2014 - 2016), less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women and only around 30 percent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.
Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 percent) and in engineering, manufacturing, and construction (8 percent).
Long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are scaring women and girls away 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 resolution declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
In recognition of the widening skills and opportunity gaps in STEM, the Space Science System Research Institute (SSSRI) has initiated several efforts to motivate action to meet the demands of a technology-driven economy, ensure national security, and maintain preeminence in scientific research and technological innovation. In 2015 and 2016 SSSRI initiated the agenda to improve STEM education in the country.
Over the last two decades, Ghana has invested heavily in improving access to, and enhancing the quality of STEM education as part of efforts to achieving one of Ghana’s United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to increase the number of science students in the country’s technical institutions by a minimum of 60%.
We wish to commend the government and the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo as part of its educational reforms plans to devote a minimum of one percent (1%) of GDP towards the promotion of research and development expenditure of STEM education in the country. This shows that STEM education has been recognized as a key driver of opportunity in equipping learners with the knowledge, hands-on skills and dispositions to effect changes in our society.
Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.
SSSRI as part of the vision to support government effort and better prepare our students for the rapid socioeconomic, scientific and technological developments ahead, recommend the facilitation of the ongoing renewal of the school curriculum that is essential for their lifelong learning and whole-person development.
Apart from cultivating students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and developing among them a solid knowledge base, SSSRI aims to strengthen students’ ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills across different STEM disciplines, and to nurture their creativity, collaboration and problem solving skills, as well as to foster their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit as required in the 21st century.
Through the promotion of STEM education in schools, we aim to nurture a versatile pool of talents with different sets and levels of skills to enhance the competitiveness of Ghanaian students through:
Explore science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on activities
Meet and talk with female professionals in STEM+ careers
Participate in fun STEM demonstrations with local companies, schools, and organizations displaying interactive booths.
We have been promoting STEM education among schools in a holistic and coherent manner, with strategies that embrace renewing the curricula of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education and enriching the learning activities for students, providing learning and teaching resources, enhancing professional development of students and teachers, strengthening partnerships with community stakeholders and maintaining professional communities, as well as conducting reviews and disseminating good practices.
We are confident that with consensus among different stakeholders (aid agencies, financial institutions, philanthropies, alliances in support of women entrepreneurs and women with expertise from a wide range of disciplines) and concerted efforts of schools and relevant partners, the recommended actions plan of SSSRI would lead us to a new phase of quality education that can unleash the potential of all students and equip them with necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to live and develop in the contemporary world of evolving science and technology.
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, SSSRI