Some 2 months ago, I published a post about a lady who caught my attention at this year’s TEDxAccra convocation. I was so enthralled by her talk that, I couldn’t help it but eulogize her in one of my blog posts. https://desmond372.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/lucy-quista-woman-of-substance/ .
She made a profound statement which made me rethink my perception about excellence and made me change my outlook towards life. She said “We can Rethink Africa and transform it, where everybody realizes their potential. Let’s be the generation that makes it happen”.
I’m a goal oriented person and have always had a zest to be at the pinnacle of everything I develop a passion for. After listening to this lady make this statement, I realized that life is not all about being at the pinnacle of everything but rather making a positive impact. She made me believe we are the next generation to transform the fortunes of Africa for the better.
She is in the person of Mrs. Lucy Quist. She is the managing director of Airtel Ghana. Not only is she a managing director but she is the reigning CIMG marketing Woman of the Year, Telecom CEO of the year, Corporate Personality of the year and the Telecom CEO of the year.
Impressive record right? I see her as the female version of the accolade conferred on Komla Dumor “The Boss Player”. She has demonstrated that not only is a woman capable of doing better what a man can do but also what a man cannot do. Not only is she rubbing shoulders with men in the corporate world but she has also created a niche for herself.That is why it saddens my heart when I see young girls playing small at life. They allow the illusion of women seen as a weaker gender define their dreams and aspirations. I hope and pray that we all especially young ladies learn from the achievements of this virtuous woman.
Lucy Quist is spearheading her company’s Corporate Social Responsibility through an initiative called “Evolve with STEM”. 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 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 of Ghana.
The 2nd phase of “Evolve with STEM”, which I was privileged to cover as an event correspondent for 360GH was launched on Friday 10th June, 2016, at the Holy Family Roman Catholic School in the Ablekuma Central Sub Metro- Accra. The 2nd phase involves setting up STEM clubs to enable teachers to teach and students learn Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects in a practical, fun and informal way outside of the classroom.
I believe this is a good initiative and I must commend Lucy Quist and Airtel Ghana for undertaking this project. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are subjects most students in Ghana see as very difficult due to the rigorous nature of these subjects. As a result , they shy away from pursuing careers that involve the study of these subjects, especially girls. It is encouraging to see the likes of Lucy Quist excelling in a career that involves STEM and it sends a strong signal to girls especially that STEM is not an insurmountable hurdle.
Let’s ask ourselves, is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) actually difficult or it is the approach used in teaching that makes it difficult? I remember being an exceptional student in all subjects when I was in Kindergarten. When I was promoted to class 2, I came across a teacher that always canned me whenever I got a Math question wrong thus making me lose interest in the subject. From then onwards I gave up on Math. My dislike for Math grew stronger as I climbed the academic ladder.
When I got to class five, there was an academic exercise called mental where you’d spontaneously be asked a Math question.This exercise was purportedly undertaken to make your brains sharp. When you’re unable to answer the question within a short time you’d be canned. As a result of this, I played truant on days that we had Math to avoid being canned. I always performed abysmally in Math during examinations even though I excelled in other subjects.
My parents knowing the importance of Math employed the services of a private teacher to teach me when I got to Junior High School because without excelling in Mathematics I can’t gain admission to a Senior High School.
This teacher was very meticulous in his approach when he was teaching me. He used real life situations to explain some Math principles to me. E.g. a math question like -4+7=3. He’d tell me that I should always remember anytime I borrow, it’s in negative and anytime I pay, it’s positive. With this explanation, I was able to solve all questions that involved negative and positive numbers. From then onwards, my story changed. I developed an interest in Mathematics. I rose from a grade E student in Math to a Grade A student. I was able to Excel in all subjects during my final examinations and gained admission to Achimota Secondary School. I’d forever be grateful to that teacher for turning my academic fortunes in Math around for the better.
I’m sure this is the story of most students. There are a lot of SHS graduates at home just because they couldn’t make the minimum grade in Math and Science to make them eligible for admission into the University. I believe their interest in Math and Science were doused in the early stages of their education, as a result of the harsh methods of teaching on the part of teachers. If all the teachers that taught me Mathematics in primary school used the same approach that my private tutor employed, I would have been pursuing a career that involves STEM by now. I still find it difficult to forgive the teacher who canned me mercilessly for getting Math questions wrong. I still blame her for killing my interest in Math.
All hope is not lost because STEM is here to rewrite the history books. I believe with this initiative, students interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics will be aroused. I believe STEM will produce the next generation of Aristotle, Newton, Steve jobs etc. I believe with STEM, Africa won’t be known as a continent based only it’s natural resources but a continent known for it’s potential. Let’s be the generation that makes it happen.
Kudos to Lucy Quist!!