Consistent with Tullow Ghana Limited’s investment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education towards developing the critical human resources that can manage the oil and gas industry in the future, the company has funded the first ever STEM Boot Camp for 50 Basic Level Mathematics and Science teachers.
This was under the Educate to Innovate with STEM Project funded by Tullow Ghana Limited and implemented by Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF) in the six Coastal Districts of Shama, Sekondi Takoradi, Ahanta West, Nzema East, Ellembele and Jomoro in the Western Region.
The 50 teachers engaged had the following years of teaching experience; one-two years (13 per cent), two-four years (eight per cent), five – six years (26 per cent), seven – eight years (18 per cent) and ten and above (36 per cent).
Whilst granting majority of them the first time exposure in practical and laboratory experience, the training offered the engaged teachers the opportunity to review the trend analysis of school performance over the past four years as a guide to them and peer to peer support in selected topics.
Consultatively, participants highlighted their expectations for the training to include the acquiring of new methods of teaching practically, new methods of teaching Mathematics, getting knowledge in science practical’s, improving practical skills of teaching science, learning from each other on best practices of teaching, building knowledge sharing network among teachers and that guided the facilitators in adopting the participatory approach in shaping the content.
Officially opening the Boot Camp, Mr Nicholas Essien, the Regional Science Technology Mathematics and Innovation Education (STMIE) Coordinator, urged teachers to upgrade their capacity to be able to make meaningful impact in the classrooms.
Highlighting Tullow’s Commitment, Mr Edmond Fiifi Enchill, the Social Performance Manager, Tullow Ghana Limited, reiterated Tullow’s commitment and continuous support of investing in the education of Ghanaian youth through STEM.
He emphasized Tullow’s support at the various levels of education in Ghana that is; Kindergarten, Basic, Secondary and Tertiary levels.
Mr Enchill said: “The recognition of teachers is key in ensuring strong fundamentals in STEM education at the Basic Level.”
Commending Tullow’s support and the Ghana Education Service (GES) for the collaborative support, Mr Seth Oteng, the Executive Director of YBF, said, the development of every great nation is hinged on STEM education; therefore it is imperative to promote interest in STEM subjects at the basic level and be a critical part of every child’s development.
“Promoting hands-on STEM education and student-based project activities will go a long way of ensuring appreciation and interest in STEM courses from the Basic Level through to the Tertiary Level of education,” he said.
The YBF Executive Director commended Tullow Ghana Limited for the noble opportunity that exposed the teachers to new approaches to teaching Science, Engineering and Mathematics.
Mr Oteng therefore called for a collective approach of stakeholders in promoting education in the country adding that; “A multi-stakeholder approach among the GES, Ministry of Education, traditional authorities, corporate bodies and parents to invest in the education of the youth is a priority.”
Stressing on the timeliness of the training, Mr Peter Ackah Blay Quayson, the District Education Director, commended the institutional efforts of Tullow Ghana Limited and YBF that complimented the hard work of the GES in supporting teachers through capacity building.
He urged teachers to stress on practical assignments in addition to theory to make meaningful impact in the lives of the students and communities.
The three-day workshop, which was on the theme: “Developing New, Strong and Effective Approaches in the Teaching of Mathematics and Science”, sought to ensure that teachers under the Project had access to high-quality understanding, teaching and learning opportunities in STEM subjects, introduce them to new and modern methods of teaching Mathematics and Science with emphasis on practical approaches of instruction.
In line with the objective of the Project, and to facilitate as well as improve the application of Science in national development, STMIE Coordinators also drawn from the Project concentration were also included in the knowledge sharing experience.
At the preliminary session of the Boot Camp, ensuring collaboration between the District Directorate of Education and teachers, well-resourced personnel from the GES engaged participants on the trend analysis of students’ performance as well as introduced them to the Chief Examiners report on the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) with emphasis on Science and Mathematics.
Consisting of a series of group assignment with supervision from primed facilitators, the teachers were introduced to Mathematics topics like: Demystifying topics in mathematics – concepts and challenging topics, five strands of Mathematical proficiency : conceptual understanding, procedural Fluency, strategic competence, adaptive reasoning and productive disposition, Word Problems, Bearings as well as Construction by Mr Joseph Buabae, a Mathematics specialist and Education and Mentorship Officer.
The Science session which was in two parts entailing Basic Electronics and Engineering had Mr Yaw Aduse – Opoku, the Applied Engineering and Skills Development officer tutoring participants on the Manufacturing of a solenoid for magnetism, Series and parallel connection and Converting Alternating current (AC) to Direct Current (DC) and vice versa.
Aided by Mr Richard Larnyo, a Science Learning Specialist, Mnemonics – a remedial method for teaching Science, and undertaking a Laboratory exercise where beneficiaries also had the opportunity to take part in hands-on learning and experiments in STEM at Nkroful Senior High School Science laboratory, a Project beneficiary School, where collaboration between Senior High and Junior High Schools were promoted during the Physics Parallel and series connections, Biology food test and Chemistry Chemical reactions, (acid base reactions) experiments.
In reviewing the workshop, the teachers confirmed meeting their expectations through their exposure to good practices anchored on peer to peer learning and networking to achieve improved results in BECE, improve the performance of Mathematics and Science, to educate students to offer Mathematics and Science in the Secondary School without fear as well as improving how to solve Word problems.
At the closing review of the outcome of the training these were some of the comments made by the teachers and STMIE Cordinators;
In an interview with Mr Benjamin Acheampong, a Science teachers from the Abaodze Abuessi Junior High School B , a Project beneficiary School in the Shama District, he said: “After many years of teaching Science this is my first time of visiting the Science laboratory to have a practical feel of what I teach.”
Mr Leonard Kweku Ahialey, a Science teacher from the AME Zion Junior High School, another beneficiary school under the Project described the program as timely as it will help teachers to deliver in the classroom.
Madam Louisa Iris Arde, the STMIE Coordinator for Jomoro District, also indicated during an interview that; “In fact the program was very good because it addressed areas where most teachers are having difficulties in teaching.”
Secondly, “As a Coordinator, my supervisory role over the schools has been sharpened based on the exposure gained here.” She added.
The Boot Camp, which is the first ever STEM Boot Camp held under the Project, for Science and Mathematics teachers at the basic school level was from the 15th – 17th April 2019 at the Kikam Royal Beach Resort in the Ellembele District of the Western Region. The Educate to Innovate with STEM is a three-year Project, funded by Tullow Ghana Limited and implemented by YBF, with the objective of improving the performance of students in the core subjects of Science and Mathematics at the BECE and West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) by 50 per cent.
QUOTES BASED ON SPEAKERS
Mr Edmond Fiifi Enchill, the Social Performance Manager.
“The recognition of teachers is key in ensuring strong fundamentals in STEM education at the Basic Level.”
“Promoting hands-on STEM education and student-based project activities will go a long way of ensuring appreciation and interest in STEM courses from the Basic Level through to the Tertiary Level of education.”Mr Seth Oteng, the Executive Director, Youth Bridge Foundation.
“STEM education remains a critical part of the government’s agenda which require collaborative efforts from all stakeholders.“Mr Peter Ackah Blay Quayson, the District Education Director.
“In fact the program was very good because it addressed areas where most teachers are having difficulties in teaching.“Madam Louisa Iris Arde, STMIE Coordinator, Jomoro District.
“After many years of teaching Science this is my first time of visiting the Science laboratory to have a practical feel of what I teach.”“Mr Benjamin Acheampong, Science teacher, Abaodze Abuessi Junior High School (Participant).
“The program is timely, it will help teachers to deliver in the classroom, our appreciation goes to Tullow and YBF for making this possible at our door step.”Mr Leonard Kweku Ahialey, Science teacher, AME Zion Junior High School, (Participant).
“Teachers need to initiate hands on activities and student-based projects which will go a long way to deepen the interest in STEM subjects and careers among young people.”Mr Yaw Aduse-Poku, Applied Engineering and Skills Development officer.
“Teachers need to undertake research to improve upon mode of imparting knowledge to the students, the days of route learning without appreciating the context and importance of learning mathematics must be left behind.”Mr Joseph Buabae, Mathematics specialist and Education and Mentorship Officer.
BY YBF COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT