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Kenya hosts Africa’s STEM Education Congress 

Some 17 African countries are converging in Naivasha for a weeklong strategic planning meeting on how to implement science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the country level as well as advocate for continental performance monitoring and evaluation framework.

The indicators of performance will be aligned with country-level outcomes in STEM education.

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Albert Nsengiyumva from Ivory Coast, said the aim of the conference was to see how the member countries can develop curriculums that are market-specific in the face of increasing joblessness for many African youths who come out of school.

“Africa now needs an education system that is responsive to emerging needs in the job market and equips the youth with skills that can make them job creators instead of waiting or being employed,” Nsengiyumva said.

While emphasising the importance of technology in imparting this education, Nsengiyumva hailed Kenya for the reforms she has implemented in the education sector, saying they were worth emulating with situational analysis on the status of play-based STEM education in primary schools, showing that it will reduce dependency on import consumption.

Nsengiyumva was speaking in Naivasha on Wednesday during the ongoing meeting of the Secretariat for the Association for Development of Education in Africa’s Inter-Country Quality Node on Mathematics and Science Education (ADEA-ICQN-MSE).

This pan-African conference is aimed at fostering unilateral development in the member countries. It’s hosted by the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA).

ADEA seeks to empower African countries to develop responsive education systems for sustainable development. The organisation achieves these aspirations through thematic-based inter-country quality nodes (ICQNs), such as the one on mathematics and science education (ICQN-MSE).

The ICQN-MSE conducted some studies on the status of STEM education, which included a situational analysis of the status of play-based STEM education in primary schools in Africa (2022–2023) and the status of STEM education at the secondary school level in Africa (2020–2021).

Through these studies, the ICQN-MSE has developed several tools to guide countries in designing interventions that enhance the development of STEM education at the national level: A draft strategic framework to guide country-based activities in developing STEM education at the basic learning level and a draft STEM toolkit to advance knowledge on the integration of STEM education, play, and technology in Africa.

This conference or congress is therefore intended to bring together delegates from countries that participated in the two studies to review the study reports, develop the strategic framework for the ICQN-MSE and discuss the STEM toolkit aimed at achieving a shared vision for developing STEM education in Africa. Encourage countries to design policies that deliberately govern the development of STEM education and advance strategic steps to implement STEM education at the country level.

It’s also intended to advocate for continental performance monitoring and evaluation framework with indicators that are aligned to country-level outcomes in STEM education.

The workshop participants include senior Ministry of Education officials from either the headquarters or regional levels, heads of either primary or secondary schools, teacher trainers, teachers of STEM subjects, national curriculum development officers, national examination officers, commissions for science and technology, and quality assurance officers.

The participating countries that also took part in two aforementioned studies include Botswana, Rwanda (primary study), South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, Angola and Morocco (secondary study). Other participants are Eswatini, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Senegal and Malawi.

By Mabel Keya-Shikuku 

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