Current developments in the global economy indicate that more employers are increasingly embracing science and technology in order to make the delivery of goods and services more efficient.
The oil and gas industry is one of the key sectors that heavily depends on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The operations under this sector requires people with STEM background to research and develop innovative products and technological energy solutions for the common good of humanity.
It is therefore imperative that we encourage the study of STEM to prepare students towards meeting the demands of a tech-driven economy in the coming years.
However, despite efforts made over the years to narrow the gender gap in STEM education, major inequalities persist. Girls are significantly under-represented in STEM subjects and fields in many settings and this could be associated with socio-cultural factors.
Global Perspective on Girls in STEM
According to a UNESCO report titled “Cracking the code: girls’ and women’s education in STEM”, the gender disparity in STEM education is striking. In higher education, only 35% of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields are female. Women continue to drop out of STEM disciplines in disproportionate numbers during their higher education studies, while transitioning to the world of work and even during their career cycle.
STEM Breakfast Meeting
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 17, Vivo Energy Ghana, the Shell licensee, in partnership with the African Business Centre for Development Education (ABCDE) organised a breakfast meeting on the theme ‘the Promise of E-learning to the study of STEM; special focus on girls’.
The programme, which falls under Vivo Energy’s broader initiative dubbed VE-STEM, brought together about 200 stakeholders from the diplomatic corps, private sector, government agencies, international development agencies and school authorities.
The objectives of the programme were to discuss ways to make STEM education attractive, increase awareness in career opportunities that exist in the world of science and technology, especially among female students, and garner private sector support.
On the panel was the Managing Director of Vivo Energy, Mr Ben Hassan Ouattara, Mrs Petra Asamoah a board member of ABCDE, Dr Thomas Tagoe, the General Secretary of the Ghana Science Association, and Ms Melody Boateng, the National Professional Officer for the Natural Sciences Sector of UNESCO. Also, in attendance was the National Science Coordinator of the Ministry of Education, Madam Olivia Opare and Kingsley Boachie who represented the Honourable Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum.