Barring any unforeseen hitches, Ghana would have its first Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Academy situated in the capital, Accra, in the next 24 months. The GH¢32 million Accra STEM Academy would be dedicated, principally, to the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday broke ground at the site for the school in East Legon, Accra, for the commencement of construction.
The Accra STEM Academy would be from Kindergarten to Senior High School, with an expected student population of 2,000. The Academy would have a number of state-of-the-art facilities, including a four-story 28 classroom blocks, 14 science laboratories with prep rooms, a sick bay, an administrative area, a headmaster’s office, a staff common room, a library, 26 washrooms, a canteen, and a 1500-capacity multi-purpose hall, as well as external works.
In his address, President Akufo-Addo expressed his delight that the project had come under his tenure.
He said that the Accra STEM Academy would equip learners from Kindergarten to Senior High School with 21st Century skills, including problem-solving, creativity, communication, collaboration, data literacy, digital literacy, and computer science.
In addition, the Academy would be a place where students in Junior High School would be provided with the option of learning basic engineering, manufacturing, and global studies to help them make informed decisions on their preferred programmes at the Senior High School level.
“I am excited that, as a fully inclusive school, students with learning difficulties, as well as gifted and talented students, will find a suitable home. The Accra STEM Academy is a Ghana project, and we can, thus, be sure that Ghana’s young people are going to acquire skills that will put them at par with their peers anywhere in the world,” he charged.
While urging parents and students to take advantage of the facility’s opportunity and their role in the STEM Academy, President Akufo-Addo said the government was committed to accelerating STEM education in Ghana.
He explained it was to train students with cutting-edge 21st Century skills, and “God willing, within the next 24 months we’ll all be back here to witness the commissioning of the Accra STEM Academy.”
In accordance with the government’s education strategic plan, targeted at increasing science and humanity ratio from the current one of 40 to 60 to the desired 60 to 40 in favour of science, he said the government was repositioning the educational system anchored on STEM Education.
He argued that the country, with its 30 million population, produces 6,000 engineering graduates annually.
On the other hand, Vietnam, with a population of 97 million people, produces 100,000 engineering graduates per annum.
President Akufo-Addo said that by the same measure, Ghana should be producing at least 30,000 engineers annually for the desired level of socio-economic transformation.
The President informed the gathering that, as part of his commitment to the advancement of STEM Education in the country, his government had commenced the development of 20 STEM centres, and 10 model STEM Senior High Schools across the country.
These projects, he added, are at various stages of completion, and some would be operationalised this year. They would be fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories to facilitate teaching and learning in all areas of study, including artificial intelligence and robotics.
RENAISSANCE IN AFRICA
The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, noted that the Akufo-Addo government has commenced an educational renaissance in Africa. He explained that because the vision of the President is that if education was not transformed, it could not play its rightful role of boosting the economy.
“In the fourth industrial revolution, our students should be learning in spaces and other things that would change their minds to transform. Therefore, the academy was the beginning of this transformation agenda,” he stated.
On her part, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Ms. Lydia Seyram Alhassan, said that although the constituency was considered one of the elite communities in the country, it had no Senior High School, and welcomed the construction of the Academy in her constituency.