Siemens Stiftung, a non-profit foundation promoting sustainable development, in collaboration with Ghanaian social enterprise, BLUETOWN, has launched the AccessSTEM pilot project in four schools in the Eastern Region.
This is to bridge the learning digital gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education using social entrepreneurial solutions.
The four schools are the Presbyterian College of Education, Akuapem-Akropong, Kibi Presbyterian College of Education, Kibi Senior High Technical School, and Koforidua Technical Institute.
The project aims at improving teaching methods, specifically in the STEM subjects, as well as vocational orientation of students using BLUETOWN’s services to enhance digital learning tools where their availability was comparatively low.
The collaboration enables up to 5,000 teachers to connect to the social enterprise’s infrastructure and access digital learning and teaching materials on the local cloud, deploying its solar-powered technology to work off-grid under unfavourable conditions, providing more affordable internet to underserved communities.
Ms Setoria Opoku Afriyie, the Special Projects Administrator of BLUETOWN Ghana, said the collaboration would facilitate access to the organisation’s connectivity infrastructure by about 4,000 to 5,000 teachers and students.
That would be in combination with the latest learning materials in STEM subjects from Siemens Stiftung’s internationally recognised Open Education Resources (OERs), she said.
The OER content is a modular and adaptable to country-specific needs, which would be made available on the local cloud and can be downloaded in areas with low internet connectivity.
Teachers from the participating schools would familiarise themselves with the OERs to ensure their optimal use in the learning process.
Ms Afriyie said: “This pilot supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4) on quality education and industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), by providing educational resources to a wider population, whiles also improving digital infrastructure to prepare students for the future job market”.
Dr Nina Smidt, the Managing Director and Spokesperson of the Board of Directors, Siemens Stiftung, said the initiative bridged the learning gap exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic for students living in areas with no internet.
Ms Matilda Jimatey, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) teacher at Kibi Secondary Technical School, said the world was moving to a digital stage, hence the importance of the AccessSTEM digital learning materials to provide solution to challenges in teaching and learning.
BLUETOWN won Siemens Stiftung’s empowering people award in 2019, a global competition for low-tech solutions addressing basic needs in developing regions, and subsequently became a member of the platform.