Role of teachers and other stakeholders in STEM education
STEM education is about learning by doing! It is an innovative way of making learning a practical process that connects to real life through application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics by students with guidance from teachers.
Classrooms need to offer teaching and learning processes that provide the search for understanding and real impact of these disciplines in daily life and specifically in Africa. Implementation of STEM education will transform the way learners understand the world environment; giving them a more sensible outlook of everything and a practical approach to real-life experiences as well as problems and solutions.
This approach of teaching STEM subjects is realizable if teachers are trained and supported to achieve behavior changes. Curriculum reform needs to go hand-in-hand with continuous teacher professional development. These kind of curriculum reforms require support by all stakeholders including the parents.
STEM education is not confined in classrooms or laboratories; it is more effective and efficient when nurtured all the way from home, where learners together with their parents are able to identify activities within the environment that will encourage the children to think more deeply about daily activities. For example, they are able to explain rust on roofing iron-sheets, or growing of mold on unwashed and dirty dishes..
In Kenya, the ministry of Education launched in 2016 the creation of STEM model secondary schools in every county. The Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) is the lead agency in STEM education and is carrying out continuous capacity development on STEM activities through various programs, strategies and partnerships.
CEMASTEA introduced the STEM education model schools program to create a culture that inspires learners to excel and pursue careers related to science and mathematics and to enhance their creativity and innovativeness. To systematically roll-out the program, 102 schools have been identified in Kenya.
Sensitization workshops and related training has been successfully implemented for Board of Management (BOM) members, school managers and teachers. In 2016, 329 teachers from the 102 schools were trained in 8 regions. The training focused on interdisciplinary approach, education for sustainability, creativity, makerspace and introduction to robotics science. In August, about 350 teachers from the model schools gathered to delve further into robotics science.
Successful implementation of STEM greatly depends on various education and economic policies adopted by single country. That is why it key policies and investment are necessary to unlock Africa’s potential!