Over the years, quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education had proven to be the fundamental area of study, which defines the academic success of students, Professor Michael Adinortey, President for the Ghana Science Association (GSA) has said.
He said it had become prudent to address challenges associated with this area of study to be able to help students perform above expectations in the West Africa Senior High School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Prof. Adinortey said this at the opening of a capacity building workshop for Senior High School (SHS) science teachers at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on Tuesday.
It is being organised under the auspices of the GSA in collaboration with the College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences of the UCC.
The maiden workshop designed to equip the knowledge-base and to build capacity of SHS elective science teachers, comes after the West African Examination Council’s (WAEC) report on factors contributing to students’ failure.
Prof. Adinortey said putting the necessary educational infrastructure in place without improving on the knowledge-base, skills, and capacity of teachers who handle these subjects was a work in futility.
He said teachers would be exposed to modern methods and skills of teaching that would enhance their understanding of some concepts captured in the WAEC examiner’s reports.
The workshop, he said also anticipates enriching teachers’ knowledge on the use of Information Technology (IT) in teaching, which has over the years become an unavoidable tool necessary for teaching especially in the COVID-19 era.
Professor Victor Atsu Barku, Head of the Department of Chemistry of UCC, stated that chemistry was a critical and central area in the study of science, which highly required students’ attention and availabilities to influence excellence.
“When there is a decline in students’ performance in this area, it becomes prudent to sit with teachers to devise strategies and methods to address the challenges to reduce the failure rate in subsequent examinations”.
Though students could be the course of their failure, he believed that teachers were the central figure when the situation had to be tackled from its roots.
Speaking on some challenges of physics, Professor Raymond Edziah, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physics, expressed concern that many schools engaged physics teachers who were not so specialized in that field of study to teach the subject.
He added that schools lacked quality, trained and specialized teachers who really understood the concept of physics, hence the workshop would be the training ground for such teachers.
Prof. Barku observed that students find physics challenging if they were unable to understand its concept adding, “we will give teachers what these students need to know as a foundation to develop the love for the subject”.