Bernard Annan (right) during the official launch of the Africa Science Olympiad
ALL SCIENCES Olympiad Foundation, a Ghanaian l-based organization, in partnership with Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO (CNRU) and Ghana National Commission of UNESCO have launched a new programme to advance education on the African continent.
Dubbed the ‘Africa Science Olympiad’, the laudable educational programme is instituted to mainly help in the advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in education, through capacity building and student competitions.
Speaking at the official launch of the programme in Rwanda, Bernard Annan, Executive Director of the All Sciences Olympiad Foundation and the founder of Africa Science Olympiad, said Africa Science Olympiad would do magic for the continent.
He explained that the Africa Science Olympiad would serve as a platform will provide mentorship, scholarship and internship opportunities for students, adding “It will also include a teacher workshop to build the capacity of STEM teachers”.
Bernard Annan announced that the maiden edition of this unique platform would commence in Rwanda and it is slated for 6-15th October 2024 and it would rotated to other African countries in the years ahead.
“Rwanda as the first official host country for this Olympiad will be able to equip students and teachers with science and technology education that responds to socio-economic problems in the future”, he told Press1News in a telephone interview.
The competitions, he also stated, would be taking place every year to ensure gender inclusion and the outcomes will shine on the entire continent as more Olympiads would be born in the coming years to spearhead Africa’s positive transformation.
“While this educational event is a year away, we believe the preparation starts now. This event will be a momentous occasion for our continent. The Africa Science Olympiad is a unique opportunity for our brightest young minds to come together and compete in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
According to Bernard Annan, aside the educational benefits, the Africa Science Olympiad also has the potential of serving as a platform to unite Africa youth with different cultural backgrounds, who certainly are the future leaders of the continent.
“I believe that science has the power to unite us. It is universal language that we can all understand. And it’s through science that we can find solutions to challenges that we all face.
“I’m confident that the Africa Science Olympiad will play an important role in developing Africa’s scientific and technological capacity. The competition will help to identify and nurture the next generation of African scientists and engineers.
“It will also help to promote a culture of innovation and creativity in Africa”, Bernard stated and called on all Africans to support the Africa Science Olympiad and to own the flagship for this initiative as people of this continent of scientists and innovators.
The launch of the Africa Science Olympiad in Rwanda has seen an official handover of a flag to the Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO, represented by retired consultant and CNRU Board Chairperson, Dr. Marie Christine Gasingirwa.
Dr. Gasingirwa embarked on the role of STEM education in addressing inter-continental challenges, especially among African youth.
“What this Olympiad means to Rwanda is the same as the entire continent, but this seems to be much more fruitful to the whole continent because we shall be sharing resources and good practices so that our kids will not be limited here, they will be competitive not only at continental level, but also at the global level,” Dr. Gasingirwa said.
Benjamin Ntivuguruzwa, a teacher of Physics and Chemistry at G.S Cyiri in Gisagara district, Southern Province said the launch of the Africa Science Olympiad in Rwanda is key to arising critical thinking among the little children from primary and secondary schools.
He said some of the existing challenges to children to embrace STEM education include fearing Mathematics, and thinking it is a complicated subject. He believes that the Olympiad will bring significant changes in STEM promotion and students’ performance.
The government of Rwanda has prioritized STEM education as a key component of its Education Sector Strategic Plan, spanning from 2018/19 to 2023/24.
However, there is a significant gender gap, with only 20% of girls enrolled in STEM-related subjects, compared to 40% of boys. This situation is attributed to the lack of access to quality STEM education.
According to a report from the African Development Bank (AfDB), less than 25% of African higher education students pursue studies in the field of STEM, compared to the 2016 UNESCO report that shows that only 25% of primary school students in Africa are enrolled in STEM-related subjects.
FROM Nana Achiaa Adusei Poku