STEM Education in Africa

In the United States of America there is currently a nationwide push for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.  The U.S. is not alone however; Africa is also in the midst of encouraging STEM development.  Recognizing that advances in science and technology contribute to the social and economic development of Africa and its full integration into the global economy, the African Union came together on January 2007 for the Addis Ababa Declaration on Science, Technology and Scientific Research for Development.  In the declaration, Heads of State of the African Union nations encouraged “more African youth to take up studies in science, technology and engineering” and invited Member States to pay special attention to the teaching of science and technology.

In response to the declaration, the STEM Education Centre (STEM-Z) was established in Lusaka, Zambia on December 2009.  The key mission of the STEM-Z is “to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the Education System” and its Motto is “Towards a Science Culture.”  In order to achieve this goal, STEM-Z will address current challenges in science education, including curricula development, the lack of well-trained science teachers, and lack of access to appropriate laboratory facilities and teaching materials. To date, some of the Centre’s activities include science and technology awareness camps, student mentoring and coaching, and teacher training on specific STEM courses.

Since STEM-Z intends to be a model to be replicated in neighboring Sub-Saharan countries, the Centre’s progress will play a critical role in shaping the future of STEM education in Africa.

Posted by: Hyun Kyong Lee

Sources: South African Association of Science & Technology Centre, African Union, Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog

Photo Credit: Grateful Children courtesy of flickr user Biggs_I

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