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A call to STEM programs to collaborate and create lifelong learners

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 02 April 2018 6:20 PM CAT
Janice Scheckter photo

A Better Africa not only provides the place for STEM programs to flourish in a virtual shared and collaborative space but also provides the space from STEM alumni to go from primary school programs to secondary school and possibly tertiary. It's about tracking children with the potential to do great things and it may be about programs collaborating, across funders, across countries.

 

'We make collaboration easy. If funder A is working in a primary school setting and funder B in a secondary school, we'll take the time to connect them,' says A Better Africa CEO Roger Dickinson. 

'Education should concern all of us. It's what shapes the future.' 

'Science surrounds us every day. It is important to us. Its technology creates many things we might be hard-pressed to live without. Every day we enjoy the many benefits of scientific discovery, technology and commerce. Science makes life easier for all of us.

The important role science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) education has in catalysing state economies and workforce readiness is generally recognised and certainly well documented. Our challenge as parents, educators, employers, policymakers and individuals who can see our country as it is today, not as it was even a decade or two before, is to imagine what many across the world call Stem learning informed by our current economic and workforce realities.

"Without Stem skills, Gauteng and South African learners are at risk of adding to the population of the jobless who may have degrees, but are unprepared to support a family and contribute to economic growth.'

Source: Business Report 2016

'South Africa's basic  sector needs to increase the number of schools that focus on critical learning areas such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, as well as the arts. This was one of the main recommendations presented by the Basic Education Lekgotla to the Department of Basic Education (DBE), in line with efforts to improve the education system.'

Source: IT Web 2018

The problem is an African problem and without STEM in schools, the African workforce set to become the world's largest by 2040, faces further exploitation. 

'Consider, for a second, the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources, such as bauxite in Guinea and Ghana. If the governments had a clear strategy on STEM policies, there would be more homegrown cartographers drawing maps, more trained engineers operating machines and building railroads. If we invested more in research and development, our own scientists would be able to prevent diseases such as Ebola. If we invested in our tech entrepreneurs and innovators, we would be able to resolve local problems with local solutions. Instead, China and the US are doing this for us with a hidden price.' 

Source: The World Economic Forum 2018

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