Lucy Quist, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana and Telecom CEO of the year has launched the second phase of the “Evolve with STEM” initiative. The launch took place on Friday, 10th June 2016, at the Holy Family Roman Catholic School in the Ablekuma Central Sub Metro Circuit.
Evolve with STEM is Airtel Ghana’s corporate social responsibility initiative, which seeks to demystify the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in basic schools and inspire the pupils to cultivate an insatiable interest in such subjects.
The first phase, which was launched in December last year comprised of regular monthly mentoring sessions for schools in the Greater Accra, Brong-Ahafo and Central regions. The likes of Joselyn Dumas, Actress and Television host and Anis Haffer, renowned educationist, and columnist of the Daily Graphic took part in the first phase to mentor pupils from the Mataheko RC Junior High School where Lucy Quist once taught as a national service personnel many years ago.
Campaign video for Evolve with STEM
The second phase involved the building capacity of more than 20 Science, Maths and ICT teachers within the beneficiary schools.
The launch of the third phase involves setting up STEM clubs to enable teachers to teach and students to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects in a practical, fun and informal way outside of the classroom. The clubs have been set up in three schools (Abossey Okai R/C JHS, Mataheko ‘1’, and Mataheko RC JHS) within the Ablekuma Central Sub Metro Circuit. The Clubs will be set up and run in collaboration with The Exploratory, an initiative of the African Women Advocacy Project for the promotion of STEM Education.
Some dignitaries in attendance at the launch of the second phase were Mr. Kojo Mattah, CIMG National President, Madam Agnes Sackitey, Circuit supervisor of Ablekuma 02 sub-metro and Madam Vivian Tetteh, Coordinator for Science Education in Accra Metro District of Education.
The program began with a career talk by Hilary Arko-Dadzie, Director of Projects at Airtel and an IT professional.
Madam Hilary Arko-Dadzie went down memory lane to recount some childhood memories. She recounted how inquisitive she was as a child, which made her dismantle and assemble toys just because she wanted to know what they were made of. This later developed her interest in the study of Science.
She, therefore, encouraged students not to attach a bad connotation to inquisitiveness because it is a way of seeking knowledge. “Being inquisitive is good. Being curious means you want to seek for knowledge so that you can use it one day. It’s good to be inquisitive, so don’t stop being inquisitive,” she said.
She also recalled how she paid heed to her father’s advice to develop an interest in mathematics when she performed poorly in Mathematics at a stage during her education. “That moment he told me that when you make math your most loved subject, every other thing comes easy, I started liking math and even if I didn’t know, I wanted to know,” she added.
Madam Hilary Arko-Dadzie urged the students to dispel the notion of Mathematics being a difficult subject and develop an interest in it.
“Math is very important because that’s what has made me what I am today. When you love Math, every other subject becomes easy because it develops your way of thinking. When you do Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) you become smarter and versatile.”
After the mentoring session with Hilary Arko-Dadzie, the student’s level of knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) was tested. Selected students were directed to spin a STEM question wheel and the students who answered the questions correctly were given souvenirs and stationery from Airtel Ghana.
The 2015 CIMG marketing woman of the year and Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, Lucy Quist, took her turn to mentor the pupils.
She began by expressing her gratitude to CIMG, Airtel Ghana, individuals and other corporate bodies who have contributed their quota towards the Evolve with STEM initiative.
Lucy Quist encouraged the pupils to form partnerships amongst themselves because it was by kind courtesy of her primary school classmate Agnes Sackitey, who is the circuit supervisor of Ablekuma 02, that the STEM initiative was made possible in their school. “Just as you’re sitting here with your classmates you never know what you and your classmates will have the opportunity to collaborate on one day. One thing we have to learn very strongly is the need for partnership. When you partner with people, you can get more things done,” she said.
She spoke further about how the STEM initiative has offered them the opportunity to educate more than a thousand children on the relevance of science and technology and also built capacity amongst teachers.
The corporate personality of the year educated the pupils on the need to join STEM clubs. “STEM would open your minds to problem-solving. It would open your mind to question what you see around you. It would open your mind to challenge what is and devise what could be. What could be (i.e. the future) is in your hand. It’s the future that you are going to create.”
She expressed the hope that participants of the STEM initiative would end up being the problem solvers of the next generation. “There’s so much out there to really build your future in STEM but we need each other. We need to use STEM to accelerate the development that we need because you will find the solutions to the challenges we have as STEM opens your mind,” Lucy Quist stated.
After the mentoring session, Lucy Quist officially launched the STEM clubs and presented books and experiment kits to the Coordinator for Science Education in Accra Metro District of Education, Mrs. Vivian Tetteh, to be used by members of the STEM Clubs.
Mrs. Tetteh expressed her gratitude to Airtel Ghana and promised that the items will be used for their intended purpose.
After the presentation, the pupils were taken through some science experiments.
GhScientific, a scientific community that promotes all aspects of STEM in Ghana, demonstrated to students how soap breaks down dirt by using milk, liquid, and food colouring.
The pupils were also shown the process of respiration through the use of yeast.
Report by Desmond ‘Pappy’ Tawiah