Guest Post via @wmjackson: What is #STEM and Why African Parents Should Care in 2017

What is STEM and
Why African Parents
Should Care in 2017
William Jackson, M.Ed.
#MyQuestToTeach @wmjackson

When Education Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh
expressed concerns over the low grades
students had in science and math in
Ghana this raised increased awareness for African
parents that their children may not be prepared
for many careers that require science and math
skills. GhanaWeb General News 19/Feb/17

Dr. Prempeh understands how critical these subjects
are for the nation’s development and ability to
compete on a continental level. Citing the West African
Examination Council (WAEC) report the last several
years there is continued failure in the mathematics
and science areas.

There is great change on the continent of Africa,
the incorporation of technology in education and
business and in homes is changing how people
communicate on the African continent. The
engagement of educational initiatives that will
train children for the future creating a transformative
paradigm shift in how education is prepared for
more students as the national infrastructure
is updated.
African children should be preparing for developing
careers in STEAM to solve complex problems that
will challenge the ability to function in a
technology environment.

Better educational opportunities build the
intellectual abilities of youth, teens and young
adults dreaming of being entrepreneurs, building
businesses, involved in commerce and high-tech
industries. Training is paramount and vital so
STEAM and STEM initiatives are being provided by
the growth and incorporation of academic courses
being taught in schools.

Parents must know the difference between
STEM/STEAM/STREAM, CSTREAM, and STEM2.
These are the infusion of computers, science,
technology, reading, engineering, arts, math
and in some cases medicine.
“The black man in Africa had mastered the arts
and sciences. He knew the course of the stars in
the universe before the man up in Europe
knew that the earth wasn’t flat.” Malcolm X

The mission is to engage the whole child and foster
higher order thinking and critical thinking skills
in all areas,” defined by STE[+a]M. The changing
thinking of building African minds is that STEM
creates core values that embrace diversity in
learning and understanding that all
learning is connected and transferable.

The blending of STEM skills requires students to
engage in creative application, critical and higher
order thinking that supports collaborative and
cooperative learning. Learning that challenges
thinking, bringing about success that is
transferable in advanced areas of application
in society. Many careers are now influenced by
STEM curriculum’s that help determine the paths
for students and their choice of careers.

As an Educational Technology, Social Media and
STEM instructor at Edward Waters College,
educators, artists, business people and scientists
recognize the importance of blending the arts and
sciences believing that this can lead to richer
student learning.

STEAM is complimentary with 21st century artistic,
scientific and technological skills. There is much more
than just teacher-centered instruction, the student
must be the center of learning and involve the “4 Cs”:
Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and
Communication.

So important are these that foreign nations that come
to Africa to assist are using similar instructional
parameters taught in their nations and transferring
to Africa.
The issue is that African students are playing catch-up
because they are missing critical components. As the
infrastructure is upgraded or built students at a
rapid pace will be the educational, technical, commercial
and commerce leaders it needs to take African nations
into the 21st and 22nd centuries as leaders and visionaries.

“I believe it is an important developmental tool inasmuch
as it also an issue of social justice that people of this country
no matter their circumstances can have access to good
schooling. It is important that we develop the “human capital”
of our country. The policies that we have will make it possible.”
President Akufo-Addo of Ghana
Matthew Opoku Prempeh is Minister designate for Education
http://citifmonline.com/2017/01/10/matthew-opoku-prempeh-is-minister-designate-for-education/

These sentiments can be shared with many African nations
working to improve educational access from early childhood
to higher education and even vocational education.
It is important for the future of Africa when Africans can
invest and re-invest in their own nations, on their own
continent than waiting on others that do not have the same
passion for the continent and do not have the same wish
for cultural and national stability and pride.

Resources:
About STEM and STEAM
https://myquesttoteach.wordpress.com/steam/
Africa’s Future Depends on STEM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mariame-jamme/africas-workforces-need-r_b_6340556.htm
STEM Education as a Solution to Youth Unemployment
http://www.iafrikan.com/2014/03/12/stem-education-as-a-solution-to-youth-unemployment-in-africa/

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