Space Science Systems Research Institute (SSSRI) under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has signed an agreement with the Ahantaman Senior High School to design a rescue assistance robot to assist rescue mission teams during disasters.
The project, to be led by students of the school with assistance from SSSRI and teachers, is in response to the recent explosion at Apeaste in the Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region, and rampant collapse of buildings as well as fire outbreaks across the country.
The robot, when completed, will be capable of assisting rescue mission teams to identify the location of victims trapped in such disasters, and also indicate whether the victim is dead or alive.
The project, launched at the observance of 2022 UN day for Women and Girls in Science at the school, is to inspire the young girls that they can do anything with determination.
Mrs. Ernie Kankam, Headmistress of the school, indicated that the role women and girls play in nation’s the transformational agenda cannot be underestimated.
“This day recognises the critical role of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education in the transformational agenda of the globe.
Empowering the girl child in sciences is vital for achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she said.
“In order to encourage our girls that they can do anything with much determination and as part of our contribution to solving societal challenges, our girls – with assistance from SSSRI, will design a robot capable of assisting rescue mission teams to identify victims whether dead or alive during disasters,” she added.
Explaining their motivation to collaborate with Ahantaman SHS, Dr. Manfred Quarshie, President of Space Science Systems Research Institute, reiterated the need for a shift in educational approach to help students understand the principles and procedures underlying scientific approaches.
“Our goal is that through demonstrations, conversations and engaging in hands-on practical base experiments presented by experts in STEM education, young girls will become empowered, cultivate confidence and develop a deeper understanding that everything is possible in life and in the world.”
Ghana has persistent inequities in access, participation and success in STEM subjects which exist along socioeconomic, gender and geographic lines, as well as among students with disabilities.
“These long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are scaring women and girls away from science-related fields. In order to achieve full and equal access for participation in science by women and girls, much investment needs to be made to achieve that goal – hence our commitment to sponsor and assist Ahantaman SHS to design the robot at a cost of US$10,000.
“SSSRI, as part of the vision to support government efforts and better prepare our students for the rapid socioeconomic, scientific and technological developments ahead, recommends facilitating the ongoing renewal school curricular that is essential for their lifelong learning and whole-person development,” he said.
He also added that apart from cultivating students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and developing among them a solid knowledge base, SSSRI aims to strengthen students’ ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills across different STEM disciplines; and to nurture their creativity and problem-solving skills, as well as to foster their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit as required in the 21st century.