The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, has celebrated its 5th Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) festival with over 3,000 Primary, Junior and Senior high schools students in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions. The 3-day celebration which was under the theme, “The Role of STEM Education in combating the COVID-19 Pandemic: The way forward for Ghana,” aimed at motivating students, teachers, while urging parents to nurture their children’s interest in science by pursuing STEM education at higher levels.
Since its inception five years ago, this year’s celebration has recorded the largest number of participants with 19 exhibition centres drawn from Departments of Chemical Science, Applied Biology, Computer Science, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Horticulture and crop production, Geosciences among others of the university.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako addressing the participants at the festival’s opening ceremony said STEM education is a key caveat to Ghana’s development. He added that UENR is poised to collaborate with the government to build a multipurpose STEM Centre at the university campus to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education in the country. According to the Vice-Chancellor, the Centre when completed would be used to undertake research and innovative activities of both national and international interest to address scientific challenges in Ghana. Also, he mentioned that the Centre would also organize short content-based training for teachers who handle science-related subjects at both JHS and SHS levels. This, he believes, would provide for solid foundations in pupils who have the potential and wish to pursue STEM programmes in the University.
Delivering a speech on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Osei Yaw Adutwum, by Dr. Eric Nkansah, in charge of tertiary education, he congratulated the management of the UENR for being the first University in Ghana to have organized a festival of this nature which has exposed young learners to STEM. This initiative for the youth, the Minister said, falls in line with the government flagship programme of promoting STEM education in Ghana. He explained that the theme aligns with the government’s commitment to making Ghana a vaccine manufacturing hub in the sub-region with the US$25 million seed funding for the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute, as announced by President Nana Akufo Addo. Such emerging institutes, coupled with the government’s quest to accelerate the socio-economic transformation, Dr. Adutwum said, would require a concerted effort to increase the number of students in STEM-related fields, hence the President’s charge on the Ministry of Education to implement policies aimed at improving the sciences.
He further said the Ministry is committed to repositioning the educational system anchored on STEM and expected to empower Ghanaians for national development and become competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Dr. Adutwum also said the Ministry of Education is building 11 model state-of-the-arts STEM Senior High Schools across the country. He urged the students to take the festival seriously and learn as much as they can from the exhibitions, assuring that the government will provide the necessary resources to train them into world-class scientists.
Other participants present at the festival were Directors and Officials of education, staff and students of UENR.