The Ghana Science and Tech Explorer Prize (GSTEP) Challenge was officially launched on Tuesday, 14th June 2022 in Greater Accra at a colourful ceremony. The event took place at the GNAT Hall, Accra with the attendance of a number of dignitaries, including officials from the Ghana Education Service (GES), heads of Junior High Schools, regional and district Directors of Education, STEM, and ICT Coordinators. Also in attendance were the members of the GSTEP consortium, namely MEST Africa, Nesta Challenges, Foundervine and Dext Technology, national coordinators of STIMEs, municipal and district coordinators of STIMIEs, STEM coordinators, and some selected schools.

Ghana Science and Tech Explorer Challenge launched by DreamOval Foundation, partners

Ms Constance Agyeman, from the UK innovation foundation Nesta Challenges, gave an overview of GSTEP, highlighting the Challenge and its importance in shaping the mindset of the youth towards entrepreneurialism and practical education, whilst instilling confidence in them from an early stage. She mentioned that STEM education is at the forefront of education worldwide and it is important to integrate this into our educational system in order to remain competitive in a fast-moving world.

Ms Aygeman mentioned that the programme is about inspiring the next generation of leaders and teachers by providing them with the skills needed to solve issues in their communities. She mentioned her appreciation to the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service for their immense support so far.

Mr. Siddhartha Jha from Fondation Botnar, the lead funder of the GSTEP Challenge, joined the launch online via Zoom and spoke about how excited they are about the programme. He stated that STEM education improves the problem-solving mindset of an individual and is essential in the rapid technological advancement in which we live now.

Ghana Science and Tech Explorer Challenge launched by DreamOval Foundation, partners
Ms Constance Agyeman, UK Innovation Foundation Nesta Challenges

Siddhartha hopes the GSTEP Challenge activities give the participants a fun learning experience and the necessary digital and communication skills to shape them into the industry leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.

The Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, who could not attend the launch in person, sent a message to the audience, endorsing the GSTEP Challenge. In his speech, he stated the importance of STEM education in the evolution of education stating it as “the future of the world and in Ghana.”

The honorable Minister stated that the Challenge is in line with the Government’s policy to ensure that STEM education is made paramount in all learning institutions, hence the government’s commitment to building STEM schools and centres in the country.

He applauded DreamOval Foundation and the partners for this initiative and hopes it encourages young learners to take part in the Challenge.

The keynote address was delivered by Madam Monica Ankrah, the Greater Regional Director of Education, who represented the Director-General of Ghana Education Service, Professor Kwasi Opoku- Amankwa. In the keynote address, she applauded DreamOval Foundation for taking this huge step to help bridge the STEM skills gap in the education sector.

She stated that STEM education has become a necessity, hence the GSTEP Challenge will help enlighten the youth and the general public on the importance of STEM education. Furthermore, she encouraged the youth to participate in the Challenge as it will prepare them extensively for what lies ahead in the future and positively impact our country.

Ghana Science and Tech Explorer Challenge launched by DreamOval Foundation, partners
Cross section of students at the launch of GSTEP Challenge

Head of Digital Innovations at Fidelity Bank Ghana, Mr. Kwame Aduansere, added his voice to commend the consortium for this laudable initiative. He mentioned that bridging the skills gap with STEM education is the way forward for Ghana as a country.

He also mentioned that the world is changing at a fast pace and that STEM education is essential if we want to be part of the developed countries. He highlighted Fidelity Bank’s unwavering support for the challenge.

Naomi Whitbourn, from Nesta Challenges, took the audience through how to submit entries for the challenge. All the information needed can be found on www.gstep.org.gh under the Challenge portal. She stated that the deadline for the submission of entries is 4th August 2022. All submissions are to be done online on the GSTEP website.

GSTEP is an initiative funded by Fondation Botnar, a Swiss philanthropic foundation working to improve the health and wellbeing of young people living in cities around the world. Advocating for the inclusion of youth voices and the equitable use of AI and digital technology, the foundation invests in and supports innovative programmes and research, and brings together actors from across sectors to create dialogue and partnerships. More information can be found on their website: www.fondationbotnar.org.

The programme is also supported by key institutions in Ghana to advance the course of practical learning across the two regions. These key institutions are Fidelity Bank, Stanbic Bank, Multimedia Group, and Graphic Communications Group.For more information about the programme, please visit the GSTEP Challenge website: www.gstep.org.gh.