Our STEM Campaign rises to the urgent challenge of sparking the interest of sub-Saharan African students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. It brings education stakeholders together across sectors to demystify the teaching and learning of STEM, and uses televised and social media to bring innovative work to the public in a way that creates “talkability.” Our ultimate goal is to make practical STEM teaching and learning the norm at all education levels. Ghana’s STEM campaign, GH4STEM, is currently being piloted.
Our two flagship programs, Junior Experimenters of Science (JUNEOS) and Senior Experimenters of Science (SENEOS), also known as The JUNEOS and SENEOS Challenges, drive the objectives of our STEM campaign for junior- and senior high students. They are national, student-led science competitions that integrate video, storytelling and practical, innovative applications of STEM theories to produce high-quality educational content for teachers and students.
Based on a national curriculum, both Challenges draw out key skills that students can apply throughout their lives: critical thinking, innovation, collaboration. In JUNEOS, individual students apply STEM concepts to everyday life. In SENEOS, students will work in groups to use everyday materials or recycled, high-tech equipment to draw from a STEM theory and create a practical solution for something their community needs.
In August 2019, we concluded the nationwide filming of the inaugural JUNEOS Challenge, featuring 100 schools across Ghana with full regional representation and female students making up 65% of experimenters. The final product will be a set of videos constituting a regionally representative catalogue of student-led science experiments based on the national curriculum. These will serve as highly relatable teaching aids that will be particularly useful in under-resourced communities and will help generate a new curriculum for junior and senior secondary school STEM.
JUNEOS and SENEOS have the potential to grow the inborn STEM genius in Sub-Saharan African students of all backgrounds through project-based learning, teamwork and real-life problem-solving. These STEM campaigns can cultivate the next generation of researchers, educators, creatives and entrepreneurs with the skills and passion to address local needs with technical expertise and cultural competency.