Science festivals are very significant events that expose students to innovations and experiments to consider the sciences in their pursuit of tertiary education, Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, the Vice-Chancellor (VC), University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR)has said.
Prof. Asare-Bediako explained that motivated students to consider enrolling in any science en route to pursuing any STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programme at the university.
This according to him, would also encourage parents and guardians to support their children and wards who have the gift of science in them to cultivate such gifts by pursuing STEM education.
Prof. Asare-Bediako was speaking at the opening of the 5th UENR STEM Festival sponsored by Yadent-Yomvita, GCB Bank Limited, Volta River Authority and FanMilk PLC on the theme “The Role of STEM Education in Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Way Forward for Ghana”.
The three-day festival brought together about 2000 pupils’ and students from both public and private basic and Senior High Schools (SHSs) in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions.
He said UENR’s recognition and spearheading the projection of STEM for the past five years, dovetailed into government and the Ministry of Education (MoE) unflinching support for the role of STEM in the development of the nation.
Prof. Asare-Bediako recalled President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s emphasis on government’s vision in supporting institutions to promote STEM education, which the MoE was working hard to see its realisation.
Accordingly, “the UENR driven by its pillars of knowledge, integrity and impact and core value to promote innovation, creativity, freedom of thought and creative expression has shown unequivocally by its history of organising science festivals over the years, which is for the promotion of STEM education in Ghana”, he stated.
In that regard, Prof. Asare-Bediako announced as a further response to the vision of government and MoE, UENR was poised to construct a multi-purpose STEM Centre to carry out research and innovations of national and international interest to address the shortfall of scientists and engineers in the country.
The Centre would also organise short content-based training for teachers who handle science-related subjects in both Junior and Senior High School levels to provide for solid foundations in pupils and students who have the potential and wish to pursue STEM programmes at the university, he added.
Prof. Asare-Bediako, therefore, appealed for government’s assistance through the MoE for the University to build the Centre as a monument to facilitate what the University had been doing in support of STEM education in the country.
Introduced by UENR in 2017, STEM is an initiative to promote the study of sciences through inculcating their interest and benefits in pupils and students to encourage them to consider the study of sciences as their programme in tertiary institutions.
In a speech read on his behalf, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education said the sector Ministry was committed to repositioning Ghana’s educational system through a whole-school reform anchored on STEM to prepare the critical mass of empowered Ghanaians for national development.