It appears that non-science students in senior high school (SHS) in Ghana have historically been limited in their options for pursuing science-related courses at the university level.
However, the Education Ministry is now taking steps to change this trend and allow non-science students to explore STEM-related fields in their higher education.
The Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, made these revelations when organisers of the Ghana Science Tech Explorer Prize (GSTEP) called on him in Accra.
“The Ghanaian high school is a very interesting system where students have to choose from about seven paths. Out of the seven, some will pursue home economics, general arts, history, government, and all those things.
“Some will pursue science, and once you choose that, they don’t allow you to change your mind. After junior high school, you are set. You go to high school; that is it.
“Universities don’t allow you to then say I have had an epiphany, and I want to be a computer engineer. They say too bad you didn’t do science so you are stuck,” he said.
Some participants in the GSTEP challenge have varied career aspirations in non-science fields such as law, fashion design, and the arts, just to mention a few; they also showed great interest in technology.
It is for this reason that the sector minister revealed that measures have been put in place to give students the freedom to pursue courses that align with their future careers.
He further added that universities that introduce STEM courses will be motivated with grants and other incentives. He believes the initiative will tilt the education system to meet the growing demands of the world of work.
“Some people are not that friendly when you are bringing innovation. So I decided that I would do it the American way and use grants. I use incentives to motivate people to change.
“We selected two universities; they’ve graduated their first batch of pre-engineering students, and now this year, they’ve started level 100 engineering schools in all aspects of engineering, including computer engineering, and they are doing well. So we want to break the boundaries,” he indicated.
The Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe praised the GSTEP initiative for revealing students’ innate STEM abilities, a step he hopes will propel Ghana’s development.
The GSTEP project aims to nurture 20,000 junior high school pupils through practical learning.
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