The DreamOval Foundation and the Ministry of Education have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the takeoff of training in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) under the Ghana Science and Tech Explorer Prize (GSTEP) programme.
The MOU was signed by Mr Divine Ayidzoe, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, and Ms. Matilda Awiah Azuimah, Legal Head, Ministry of Education on behalf of the ministry, and Mr. Claud Hutchful, Chief Executive Officer of DreamOval Limited, and Mr. Charles Hansen-Quao, Vice President, DreamOval Limited.
The programme comprises a series of challenge prize competitions, where students would be encouraged to develop new business ideas in teams, with support from schools and teachers.
The GSTEP programme which is an initiative by the DreamOval Foundation and the Ministry of Education also seeks to achieve the ambitious goal of impacting the lives of the beneficiary young people to maximize their socio-economic development, prospects, and opportunities for the future, information gathered by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema revealed.
The GSTEP is a three-year programme that would present an exciting opportunity to support 20,000 Junior High School (JHS) students aged between eleven and 16 years, and 500 teachers drawn from the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions to develop practical STEM skills and products that benefit local communities.
The MOU also indicated that GSTEP would also provide training, coaching, mentorship, and resources to support the pupils.
It also seeks to achieve the aim of strengthening their interest in STEM and ICT subjects, as well as supporting the development of key entrepreneurial and enterprising skills such as critical thinking and presentation skills.
The competition is to take a stage-gated approach, where an initial cohort of finalist teams would go on to receive mentoring and support, while in the final round, cash prizes would be awarded to the winning teams’ schools
In a related development, the Minister of Education Dr. Yaw Adutwum has explained that the STEM programme has been prioritized under the ministry's reform education policy.
Speaking at the signing of the MOU the Education Minister explained that the partnership with the private sector such as DreamOval Foundation would help unleash talents to develop the youth and move Ghana in the right direction.
Dr. Adutwum said Africa was seeing progress in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) space.
He said Ghana is beginning to play a leading role as the hub in the digital Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, in particular, adding that as these industries grow, there would be a strong demand for professionals who could blend digital and STEM skills with traditional subject expertise.
The Education Minister said there was also a need for stronger business and entrepreneurial skills; as the World Economic Forum highlights.
Therefore, harnessing the full benefits of ICT intensive jobs would require equipping Africans with the skills to design and engineer home-grown solutions rather than simply servicing the lower-skilled delivery end of the global digital market, he said.
Many young Ghanaians, he said we’re leaving education without the necessary skills for performing the most in-demand jobs in the new economy, adding that at the current rate, there would be a major skills gap in the labour force with more low-skilled workers than low-skilled jobs and fewer medium to high-skilled workers than needed by employers.
“Digital employment has the unique capacity to employ individuals who face barriers to employment such as poverty, gender, inexperience, low educational attainment in traditional curriculums, or lack of employment opportunities available.
"Therefore, a digitally skilled workforce can help grow Ghana’s competitiveness on the world stage,” he said.
He noted that the GSTEP with the support of the Ministry of Education aims to place a strong focus on harnessing technology for social good and encouraging participating pupils to see themselves as leaders and change-makers in their local communities.