STEM education, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is gaining more attraction in Africa.
But is it at the right speed?
Created in 2001, STEM has gained leverage globally, and that includes African nations.
However, the reception of this form of education in Africa is far behind compared to the rest of the world.
A recent survey done by the African Development Bank says that less than 25% of African students in secondary and tertiary institutions pursue STEM-related career fields, with more pursuing social sciences and humanities.
According to JA Africa, only 4-12% of students graduate with STEM-related degrees.
What do you think is responsible for these statistics?
It could be that there are limited STEM-skilled teachers or students and parents were not properly sensitized about this form of education.
You would agree with us that this would draw Africa back when it comes to technology
With the recent rise in the global tech industry, investment in STEM education will drive the socio-economic development of Africa faster than we think.
This form of education is one of the best ways to improve the economy of Africa.
There's no better time for Africa and you as a parent to invest in STEM education.
Do you know that Africa has the largest population of young people?
According to the United Nations World Population Prospects, over 60% of Africa’s population is under 25. 19% of the global population is between 15- to 24-year-olds.
You might wonder what this information has to do with STEM education.
Just imagine if 40% of young people in Africa have access to STEM education, the growth of the economy will be greatly impacted.
To promote more STEM jobs, it is important to integrate STEM into the educational system in Africa.
Did you know that Africa has the potential of being the fastest-growing economy in the world? But without investing in STEM education for the younger generation, competing with the rest of the world will seem almost impossible.
We will not want that right?
This is why we are putting this article together. It's time to shine the light on STEM education in Africa.
Whether we like it or not, STEM jobs keep increasing and improving our economy depending on the availability of these jobs in Africa.
In this article, we'll be extensively looking at the present state and future of STEM education in Africa and Nigeria.
You will also find out about the challenges of STEM education in Africa among other educational and eye-opening information.
What is The Present State of STEM Education In Africa?
Remember, we mentioned earlier that less than 25% of African students in secondary and tertiary institutions pursue STEM-related career fields, with more pursuing social sciences and humanities.
The saddest part of this is that very few schools specialize in STEM education, and the poverty rate in Africa makes it worse.
The teachers that specialize in this form of education often travel abroad, where they get paid well and appreciated better.
Not every parent can afford to send their children abroad to study.
If you can, can your neighbour do that?
Where does that leave such children?
What would be the fate of those students?
When this happens, students are sometimes left with no choice but to go for social sciences and humanities courses.
This singular issue affects the economy of Africa because there's no domestic STEM workforce.
Hence, STEM jobs in African countries are often outsourced to professionals from Western and Asian countries.
China has one of the highest numbers of engineers in several African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and more.
They are mostly employed to work on several projects like roads, railways, building constructions and so on.
These African countries pay them exorbitant money for the job, security, accommodation and health insurance.
Can you already imagine how expensive that is?
This is what happens when you do not invest in STEM education in your country.
Most of the funding for STEM in Africa has been from international bodies. This also has a lot to do with exporting the talents that ought to have stayed in Africa.
Let's take a quick look at the future of STEM education in Africa.
Does STEM Education Have a Future In Africa?
To improve economic development in Africa, STEM education needs to be embraced. The growing population of young people can be used to Africa's advantage by investing largely in STEM educational resources across all institutional levels
Over the next decade, STEM jobs will increase massively. The promotion of STEM education in Africa, especially among young people will help her play among the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Some countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and more have started investing in this form of education.
Hence, the creation of GetBundi, which is an online learning resource designed to deliver high-quality, engaging and accessible STEM and English language educational courses across Africa.
Our immediate society has an immeasurable impact on the acceptance of STEM education in Africa.
David Dodge, CEO of Codakid, says,
"quality coding and STEM skill options are not available in many towns, cities, and countries."
This can only mean that the job is available, but there are limited people skilled enough to take on these roles.
Society can contribute to investing in STEM education for talented children.
Also, parents should take bold steps in encouraging their children toward STEM education.
As a parent, we know you want the best for your children, and investing in STEM is the way to go.
Get on GetBundi today to get more information on how your kids can access STEM education resources.
The Progress of STEM Education in Nigeria
STEM education in Nigeria is not where it's supposed to be. The current educational curriculum does not equip the student with the practical skills that are needed to excel in these fields.
But in recent years, STEM has started to gain more leverage in the educational system.
It has aided the provision of some basic amenities like boreholes, road constructions, equipped hospitals and more in a few local areas across the country.
Nigeria is also one of the leading countries that produce top talents in the tech industry.
One of the major platforms to get adequate STEM education resources is GetBundi at an affordable rate. They offer amazing prices for the courses, and they are easy for your children to understand.
7 Major Challenges of STEM Education In Africa
The challenges of STEM education in Africa are quite numerous. We will be naming a few shortly.
The educational system in Africa is yet to fully accommodate STEM due to several reasons.
Below are some of the challenges of STEM education in Africa.
1. Poor educational facilities
The educational facilities in Africa are not conducive to STEM education. Educational facilities like school buildings, desks, electricity, internet, water, internet and others are absent in some of the learning facilities from the primary to the tertiary institution.
According to UNESCO’s 2018 Global Education Monitoring Report, only 22% of African primary schools in sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity.
How would STEM education be integrated into the curriculum in a facility where there's no access to electricity?
Almost impossible, right?
The use of the internet is also important for the promotion of STEM education in Africa.
The question is how many communities have access to the internet in Africa aside from the urban areas?
When the school doesn't have internet access, how will STEM education be taught?
Hence, the need to improve the educational facilities in African countries.
In a community or nation where the percentage of people who can afford quality education is lower than those who cannot, the integration of STEM education will prove more difficult.
Poverty is one of the major challenges of STEM education. So many parents cannot afford to finance their children's education, even when they desire it.
If the government can invest in education by funding the building of schools and the provision of quality resources, Africa is one step away from integrating STEM into the educational system.
3. Teaching methods and the school curriculum
The teaching methods of many institutions need to be revised if STEM is to be introduced to the educational system.
STEM education is more practical than abstract. Most science instructors teach in a way that the students have to imagine the possibility rather than show them the possibilities.
Hence, the academic curriculum has to accommodate that.
From primary to tertiary schools, the teaching methods require restructuring.
Also, the ministries of education in the various African countries have a huge role to play. The educational bodies need to adjust the curriculum in a way that integrates STEM.
4. Poorly trained instructors
When most of the instructors or teachers are not trained to understand STEM or qualified to teach STEM, how do they impact the right knowledge?
How would they encourage their students and how would they develop STEM skills?
Many professional teachers or lecturers do not even know the right technology and engineering skills used in most industries. How would they teach correctly when they do not have STEM skills?
The ones that are trained end up travelling abroad to teach because STEM is more appreciated and embraced in Western countries.
This is a major challenge in Africa.
If the government can invest in training school instructors and major stakeholders in the educational sector, STEM education would be more accepted and taught.
The teachers need to understand the purpose of STEM education and follow through with the process of imparting knowledge.
5. Inadequate learning resources
Learning resources such as electricity, computers, the internet and other learning materials aid STEM at all levels of educational institutions.
It would profit school owners to know that it's beyond providing tablets or iPads for the students.
One of the major purposes of STEM education is to teach students to create, design and build technologies that can be used.
If they're just being given the finished product and they are not allowed to create and design theirs, then the purpose of this form of education is defeated.
So as the resources are provided, students are to be encouraged and allowed to think, ideate and create.
There's a learning platform where you can have access to STEM education for your children. It's called GetBundi. They guarantee the understanding of STEM and English Language courses at the Secondary School level.
6. Poor leadership
Leadership in Africa is one of the major challenges in the promotion of STEM education.
From the federal government to the leaders of the educational sectors, the right leadership plays a key role in making STEM accessible to students.
Any leader that does not value education will not know the impact or the advantage of developing STEM skills in their country.
They will keep employing expatriates to do the job that could have been done by citizens if they were properly trained. This will end up affecting the economy negatively.
Poor leadership will keep making the wrong decisions when it comes to education, and in this case, STEM.
7. Inadequate investment in education
For STEM education to grow in any country, there has to be adequate investment in its planning and implementation.
This is lacking in Africa.
Most countries in Africa invest very little in education generally. Hence, the educational sector of so many countries is in shambles.
Most of those who invest in STEM education so far in Africa are from Western countries, and that's not beneficial.
The talents end up leaving their local countries for an environment that encourages their aspirations.
Africans, especially the government, need to invest in STEM education to build the skills required to get the STEM jobs available in their country.
The low investment in the educational sector will lead to poor promotion of STEM education in Africa, which in turn affects the economy
We need to level the playing field in the world by building STEM skills through education amongst the younger generations.
The good news is that you can have interrupted access to STEM education for your children.
All you need to do is log on to www.GetBundi.com.
You will be glad you did.