The Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has called on all stakeholders in the education sector to do more to encourage girls to enroll in disciplines related to the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
In reaffirming government’s commitment to flipping the science-humanities ratio from the existing 40:60 to 60:40 percent by the year 2030, the minister reiterated the critical role women play in the socio-economic development of a country, hence, the need to encourage more females into the STEM fields which hold the key to significant change and innovation.
He said for that reason, the President had tasked the ministry to prioritise Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) education.
The minister further cited that the percentage of girls pursuing science-related courses in Senior High Schools (SHS) and the tertiary level has been discouraging over the years – only 12.1 percent of women were pursuing engineering programmes in the various tertiary institutions.
He bemoaned that even at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), only 18 percent of women enrolled in STEM programmes with the men comprising 82 percent, a situation he described as highly unacceptable.
“We need to do more to encourage more girls to enroll in Mathematics and Science disciplines, and this is why I am excited about this project.
“This project includes a variety of activities focused on improving the capacity of Mathematics and Science teachers with gender-responsive pedagogy, increasing the capacity and competence of girls in Mathematics and Science, and promoting accountability and awareness of girls’ issues at the community level,” he said.
Dr. Adutwum made these remarks while expressing his excitement during the launch of a US$8million-empowerment project funded by the Korean government through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and implemented by the Ghana Education Service (GES).
The project, themed: ‘Promotion of Girls Competency in Mathematics and Science with Gender Responsive Pedagogy’, is aimed at training over 48,000 teachers and students in STEM programmes within the Central and Eastern Regions of the country.
“Africa, especially south of the Sahara can do more to improve girls’ enrollment in STEM like the Arab nations are doing. We have to take a look at how we can improve the 18 percent since that is not good enough, and neither is the 12.5 percent also good for our education,” Dr. Adutwum added.
The KOICA project, dubbed: ‘Girls STEM by KOICA’, has a total of 28 activities to be implemented in 400 JHS across 10 districts in the Central and Eastern Regions of the country.
On his part, the Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Jung-Taek Lim, stated that the project represents yet another milestone in the development cooperation between the Republic of Korea and the Government of Ghana.
He also emphasised the critical role education played in South Korea’s rapid socio-economic development since the early 1950s, and extolled the Government of Ghana’s massive investments to improve the Education Sector.
Country Director, KOICA, Mooheon Kong, appealed to stakeholders and implementing partners to focus on promoting accountability, community awareness, and advocacy to maximise the synergy of all effort that seeks to support the future of adolescent girls.