STEM education in Africa
Africa has historically fallen behind the rest of the world on its STEM capabilities. However, it’s important to note that the continent holds over 16% of the globe’s population and has the world’s largest population of young people. However, it has become urgent for education to improve and promote STEM subjects across Africa as there is immense potential. But how can we improve STEM education across the country? We’ll take a closer look in this article.
Step by step
According to a study from the African Development Bank, around 25% of African higher education students are in the science field. The lack of job opportunities inland has made it difficult for the younger generation to invest their education in STEM fields. In fact, each year, over 60,000 educated professionals emigrate to another continent to earn a better wage.
However, things are slowly changing and improving with more funding and resources being put into training staff and teachers in STEM subjects. It is important for educators and teachers to motivate their pupils and to make it more interesting and approachable with the help of STEM programs such as the ”do your :bit challenge” where “students from across the world are invited to come up with inventive solutions that are linked with the UN’s Global Goals of ‘good health and wellbeing’ and ‘climate action’. In fact, OKdo has donated 5,000 micro:bit to children in Africa to get them engaged in the challenge. These challenges and resources are what we need to make STEM education more appealing to younger people.
For Africa to be successful, the new generation need to be given opportunities for growth. The Government needs to invest in STEM fields and create more infrastructure where students and children can learn to their full potential. A great example would be the The Institute of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Cotonou, Benin where young scientists are trained to become experts in their field.
There is also a need for better access to new technologies and online platforms that would make learning across Africa easier. Programs such as open online courses (MOOCs) have the potential to completely reverse the current state of STEM education in Africa regardless of people’s location.
All in all, Africa has tremendous potential to educate a new STEM skilled workforce and therefore to grow its economy and compete with the rest of the world.