The Faculty of Science Education (FSE) has organised a weeklong training and mentorship programme in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for teachers and female pupils in rural communities within the Effutu Ghana Education Service Directorate.
The programme was organised by the Women in STEM, FSE, University of Education, Winneba (UEW), with funding from the Commonwealth Professional Fellow’s Alumni Community Engagement Fund (ACEF); Lifegate; and the Ghana Education Service, Effutu Directorate. It was held under the theme “Developing STEM Skills of Rural Girls Through Indigenous-Based Practices”.
The purpose of the programme is to arouse the interest of rural girls in STEM studies and close the gender gap in the field.
Sections of STEM teachers at the weeklong training
Participants learned about gender-responsive pedagogy, mentoring for girls, starting STEM clubs, STEM knowledge and concepts, and virtual mentorship for STEM teachers from the female faculty members. The weeklong training programme was crowned with a grand durbar at the Ateitu Community Centre, to mark the 2023 International Day of Women and Girls in STEM.
A lecturer at FSE and a Commonwealth Fellow, Ms. Cynthia Jabuni-Adanu, noted that the weeklong contact with the girls had helped to deepen their appreciation of the value of teaching girls in STEM. She entreated female pupils to enroll in STEM programmes.
"We recognise the challenges and impediments that prevent you from pursuing your education as girls. We all ran into them, but ultimately we prevailed. We know it's feasible because of our experiences,” she remarked.
From top L-R: Ms. Cynthia Jabuni-Adanu, Dr. (Mrs.) Charity Esinam Annor, Prof. Awaisu Imurana Braimah and Prof. Arkoful Sam
Ms. Cynthia Jabuni-Adanu urged parents to encourage their female children to pursue science-related programmes so they may better grasp the science underlying their everyday activities at home and the academic courses taught in school.
The chairperson for the programme, Dr. (Mrs.) Charity Esinam Annor, noted that because science is ingrained in the everyday lives of girls, who are typically in charge of household duties, teaching science to them would be quite simple if it were connected to indigenous customs.
“I see that if we apply these indigenous-based activities in the classroom, it will help them very much in understanding these concepts,” she said.
Dean, School of Business, Prof. Awaisu Imurana Braimah, who represented the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UEW, Prof. Andy Ofori-Birikorang, advised the girls to take their education very seriously. He underscored the importance of educating girls in STEM-related courses.
Female students present at the Ateitu Community Centre for the grand durbar
“If Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey were alive today, I believe he would have said that educating a woman in science probably educates the entire world,” he stated.
The Vice-Dean of FSE, Prof. Arkoful Sam, indicated that FSE organises such events from time to time and expressed delight at hosting the girls at the FSE laboratory for basic experiments. He was confident that the pieces of training would motivate the girls to do more in STEM. He asked teachers and stakeholders to approach the FSE for assistance without holding back.
Sections of the indigenous-based activities the girls undertook at the training
A form-one student of the Atekyedo M/A Basic School, Kingsberthdoe Midodzi, who spoke on behalf of her peers, detailed how the programme had stimulated their enthusiasm for science with the realisation that science could be learned even through their household tasks.
Participants for the weeklong event consisted of 20 STEM teachers and 100 Junior High School (JHS) girls from Atekyedo Basic School, Gyahadze JHS, Gyangyanadze Basic School, Osubonpanyin Ateitu JHS and African Christian Mission (ACM) Basic School.
Facilitators for the training