Securing Africa’s Future Through STEM Education

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Many African countries have not been able to move past the old method of teaching and this has caused a major deficiency in the growth and development of the continent.

Significant challenges, such as lack of equipment and access, to basic amenities, like electricity, have crippled the continent’s development, which in turn, results in poor education of the youth. It slows the rate, at which children are able to read and write properly.

According to UNESCO’s global education monitoring report, 2017/2018, only 22% of primary schools in sub-Saharan Africa, have access to electricity.

Firmin Matoko, the Assistant Director General for education, at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO),once stressed that,

“We need to help Africa tap into scientific inventions and discoveries that are happening around the world and step up investments in scientific research, to enable Africans, to be producers of knowledge, rather than consumers, by embracing the advancement in technology and equipping the youths, with relevant knowledge and skills for the 21st century demands”.

STEM education entails the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines, (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate subjects, STEM encapsulates them into a cohesive learning model, based on real world applications.

Africa has not fully grasped, nor, understands, neither, the term, STEM, nor, its implementation, in the education system.

The future of the continent, rests on how it is able to engage its youths and start educating them properly on STEM.

The United States understands the values of STEM and each year, invests billions of dollars, knowing that, over 70% of their domestic and international jobs, will require those core skills: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Sadly, the case is the opposite in Africa, as the government has invested little, or, nothing, in promoting STEM education and have largely depended on expatriates, from the West and Asia, to help build its roads, run its electricity, infrastructures, etc.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063, is a long-term strategic framework, targeted for the transformation of the African continent, over the next 50 years.

Seven aspirations have been outlined, which must be achieved by 2063. One of these, is that, Africa’s youth, (the continent accounts for 19% of the global population, aged 15-24 years, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), should be guaranteed, full access to education and training, skills and technology and to all necessary resources, to realize their full potentials.

It is high time Africa delves, head-on and salvages the dwindling fortunes of the continent, by investing massively in STEM education and raising a generation of STEM-oriented youths.

Oluwagbamila Oyekanmi, CEO, Innov8xions, once shared his thoughts on STEM education, you can read it here.

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