The Ladies in Mining and Allied Professions (LiMAP) in partnership with Cummins Ghana Limited has launched a Robotics and Coding Club for pupils of the University Basic School (UBaS) as part of strategies to promote STEM-related programmes in Ghana. The project was launched on Friday, 12th May 2023 and will run for a period of 3 months with participation from a total of 100 students comprising 60 females and 40 males from the Upper Primary and Junior High School.
Professor Anthony Simons, the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University and Chairperson during the launch noted that, in pursuit of the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda, there is a need to develop school children in STEM-related programmes to equip them with the requisite knowledge and skills needed for innovations in order to solve our daily social and economic challenges.
Launching the Club, Mr Nana Kwame Offei, the Customer Account Manager for Cummins Ghana Limited, said that digital literacy has become a necessity in our daily lives hence the need to promote STEM programmes at the basic schools. Mr Offei stated that the club will create a conducive environment for valuable robotics, coding and problem-solving skills, as well as develop students' critical thinking and collaborative skills for increased technology. He further hinted that Cummins will continue to support students, especially the girl-child by providing STEM-related opportunities to break the traditional barriers that have hindered females from pursuing STEM-related careers.
Delivering a welcome note on behalf of the founder of LiMAP, Dr Ohenewaa Kakra Dankwa, a member of LiMAP and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Petroleum Engineering said that the objective of the association is to coach females to work professionally and ethically, especially in male-dominated fields. It also had the objective of resourcing females to serve as role models or mentors to younger females in order to reduce the gender gap in STEM fields. According to Dr Dankwa LiMAP has outlined various STEM initiatives targeted at young girls to unearth and enhance their interest in STEM subjects. Elaborating on the benefits of the project, Dr Kakra said that as part of Career Guidance programmes of LiMAP, the project has been designed to comprise of a series of training and hands-on activities which will engage young girls and boys in primary and second-cycle schools in STEM activities.
Also speaking on the impact of the project Dr Shiphrah Ohene Adu, the treasurer for the association and lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering said that STEM education is crucial in building a strong workforce and a successful society. She, however, mentioned that many students do not have access to quality STEM education and many schools lack the necessary resources to pursue STEM careers. To solve this problem, Dr Shiphrah suggested the implementation of an empowerment project on STEM education to provide students with the technology, skills and tools needed to succeed in STEM fields. Dr Shiphrah said that the goal of the Robotics and Coding Club project is to increase the number of students who pursue STEM education and careers by providing a good understanding of basic scientific concepts through the use of science test technologies to guide participants to perform simple science experiments.
Mrs Majorie Mettle, the Human Resource Manager for the PanAfrican Group advised the pupils to explore the opportunity and apply the knowledge gained in their daily lives. She said that our daily activities involved the practical use of science thus the pupils should not look far but should look around them to apply the technologies they will learn on the project. Dr Emmanuel Effah, a lecturer at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Lead for the Coding and Robotics Committee as well as Ms Peace Kpolanyi, Lead for the Mentorship Committee also encouraged the pupils to take the project seriously and make the most out of the opportunity presented to them. Ms Kpolanyi mentioned that in the course of the project, the pupils will receive insightful guidance on STEM from seasoned resource persons who would be invited to interact with them.
The Headmistress of the University Basic School, Mrs Angelina Kuma expressed her appreciation to the partners for the initiative and assured them that participating students will give off their best to make the project successful.
The project which has been divided into 4 categories includes Robotic Coding–design and code Arduino-based robot and control systems, Scientific Experiments and, Guidance and Counselling Sessions.
The facilitators of the project are Mr Patrick Esso, Mr Osmond Ankugah, Mr Emmanuel Cobbinah, Mr Ransford Shelby, Mr Alfred Kobina Easmon, Mr Ernest Owusu Patrick, Mr Albert Adu Yankson and Mr Sefam Kofi Kudozia who are all teachers at the University Basic School.
Representatives of partner organisations who graced the occasion were Mrs Marjorie Mettle, Human Resource Manager for the PanAfrican Group, Mr Felix Ayeh, Corporate Responsibility Leader at Cummins Ghana Limited, Mrs Jennifer Enti, STEM Ambassador, Cummins Ghana Limited, Mr Martin Cudjoe, Member of the Community Involvement Team, Cummins Ghana Limited.
The Founder and President of LiMAP, Professor Grace Ofori-Sarpong together with executives and members of the association as well as pupils from the University Basic School also participated in the event.