Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist and Actress, Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku is headlining a campaign to promote the teaching and study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Ghana.
Dubbed GH4STEM, the initiative was launched on Friday, February 14, 2020, at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens on the University of Ghana campus.
Created by Educational technology platform, WeGo Innovate in partnership with Ghana Association of Science Teachers (GAST), Ghana STEM Network, GhScientific, and The Exploratory, the campaign brings education stakeholders across sectors together to demystify the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase what the average Ghanaian child can do when it comes to science; Whether from the village or the city,” declared Dr. Thomas Tagoe, Co-Founder of GhScientific.
Mensah-Doku voices the educational videos explaining the experiments and also real-life applications, thereby “amplifying” the message being shared.
“When students are introduced to practical STEM, it helps them develop critical thinking, innovation, and problem-solving skills. I have a platform. I have the voice, literally to help push this campaign and this
message far. And I am happy to use it.” Dr. Thomas Tagoe, Co-Founder of GhScientific, one of the partnering institutions, asserted that “it is important that when students switch on the TV, they see people they can identify with who are doing amazing things. This builds confidence and identity in a very strong way.”
The Junior Experimenters of Science (JUNEOS) and the Senior Experimenters of Science (SENEOS) challenge as part of the campaign drives home the objectives of STEM amongst Junior and Secondary High students.
Started some two years ago, the national curriculum-based challenge draws out key skills that students can apply throughout their lives via critical thinking, innovation, and collaboration where students use basic stuff found in the environment to create experiments to explain what is supposedly seen as a complicated Science phenomenon.
The national, student-led science competitions integrate video, storytelling and practical, innovative applications of STEM theories to produce high-quality educational content for teachers and students, and will be aired on Ghanaian Television stations.
Executives of We Go Innovate say it is part of the company’s contribution to 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%.
Dr. Peter Asare-Nuamah, a representative from the Ghana STEM Network and the Former Ghana Ambassador for the Next Einstein Forum states that GH4STEM “provides a great opportunity for children from unreached communities in Ghana to showcase their talents and creativity in applying scientific theories and concepts taught in resources-constrained environment, to address the problems of society.”
Rev. Thomas K. Arboh, Past President of Ghana Association of Science Teachers praised the initiative, saying it “will ignite innovation skills among pupils.”
Charles Selorm Agbemashior, founder of the platform spoke about the importance of the GH4STEM campaign at the launch.
“While some teachers are being trained in practical STEM education by the Ghanaian government and individual organizations like GAST and GhScientific, many teachers lack this important access and their students are consequently left behind. The experiment videos created over the course of the JUNEOS and SENEOS challenge can serve as practical STEM learning aids and resource tools for all teachers and students.”
He also added: “This is not going to replace learning as it is but this is a start. When you are about to learn something and you have a clear idea of what you are dealing with, and what you are getting into. It gives you a jump start.”
WeGo Innovate nurtures ideas by students from primary to higher levels of education through innovation, workshops and mentorship programs.
The talents of the students are showcased through high-quality visual content in the media, aligning practical learning in Africa with global standards.