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16.09.2005 Business & Finance

STME committees to be established in districts

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Koforidua, Sept. 16, GNA - Science and Technology and Mathematics Education Committees (STMECs) are to be set up at the regional and district levels to ensure community participation in the support, mobilisation and direction of resources in support of science and technology education. This is to help in the implementation of the National Science and Technology Policy (NSTP) document, which, among other things is aimed at strengthening science education at all levels. It is also to ensure that by 2020, 60 per cent of all students in the universities and 80 per cent of those in polytechnics and vocational institutions are registered in science and technology-related disciplines.

A Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Kwame Ampofo Twumasi, announced this when he closed a two-day workshop for science teachers in the Eastern Region at Koforidua.

The workshop, which was organized by the National Forum for Research, Science and Technology, attracted about 90 participants. Mr Ampofo Twumasi drew attention to the education component for the Agenda for Positive Change, which he said among other things sought to double the number of scientists and technologists within a decade, with particular attention to women.

It would offer them entrepreneurial training and give them realistic remuneration, improved conditions of service and rewards. He announced that it was in pursuit to this policy that Cabinet had approved the selection of 15 Teacher Training Colleges to specialise in mathematics and science education provided with well-equipped science laboratories and other facilities before later expansion to other colleges.

Mr Ampofo Twumasi said the government's approach to national development was centred on the need to train, empower and motivate individuals to liberate themselves and families from the shackles of poverty towards the liberation of the entire nation.

The Deputy Minister said with the scientific knowledge of the causes and prevention of HIV/AIDS, the youth should be made to scientifically appreciate the benefits abstinence from sex as a measure to reducing the risk of infection and concentrate rather on their academic pursuits and acquisition of skills to eradicate poverty.

In an 11-point communiqu=E9 passed at the workshop, the participants called for the establishment of a fund for the development of science, mathematics and technology education in the country. It called for incentives for students majoring in science and mathematics at the secondary and tertiary levels, such as a considerable reduction of the Academic Facility User Fees, which currently stands at 1.9 million cedis for science and mathematics students, as against 1.3 million cedis for the humanities, in tertiary institutions.

The communiqu=E9 asked that the existing Science Resource Centres be re-equipped and their co-ordinators well remunerated to enable the centres fulfil the purposes for which they were established. It asked for qualified laboratory technicians be recruited for the schools the upgrading of computers, adequate supply of teaching and learning materials and opportunities be provided for science and mathematics teachers to further their education.

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