Africa Science Olympiad launched in Rwanda to Promote STEM Competition in Education
Ghanaian-based Organization ‘All Sciences Olympiad Foundation’ in partnership with Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO (CNRU) have on Thursday, October 12, 2023 launched a new program dubbed: ‘Africa Science Olympiad’ to advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Education through capacity building and competitions.
The platform will provide mentorship, scholarship opportunities and internship opportunities for students. It will also include a teacher workshop to build the capacity of STEM teachers.
According to Bernard Annan, Executive Director of the All Sciences Olympiad Foundation and the founder of Africa Science Olympia, the maiden edition of this platform in Rwanda is slated for 6-15th October, 2024.
Rwanda as the first official host country for this Olympiad will be able to equip students and teachers with science and technology education that responds to social-economic problems in the future.
The competitions will be taking place every year by ensuring gender inclusion and the outcomes will shine the entire continent as more Olympiads will born in coming years.
“While this educational event is a year away, we believe the preparation starts now. This event will be a momentous occasion for our continent. The Africa Science Olympiad is a unique opportunity for our brightest young minds to come together and compete in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).” Bernard said.
Promoting peace among Africans
Bernard said that the platforms will build bridges and promote peace between African countries by fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation.
“I believe that science has the power to unite us. It is a universal language that we can all understand. And it is through science that we can find solutions to the challenges that we all face. I am confident that the Africa Science Olympiad will play an important role in developing Africa’s scientific and technological capacity. The competition will help to identify and nurture the next generation of African scientists and engineers. It will also help to promote a culture of innovation and creativity in Africa.” He noted.
Bernard calls all Africans to support the Africa Science Olympiad Africa and to own the flagship for this initiative as people of this continent of scientists and innovators
The launch of the Africa Science Olympiad in Rwanda has seen an official handover of a flag to the Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO, represented by retired, consultant and CNRU Board Chairperson, Dr, Marie Christine Gasingirwa.
In her remarks, Dr. Gasingirwa embarked on the role of STEM education in addressing inter-continental challenges especially among African youth.
“What this Olympiad means to Rwanda is the same the entire continent, but this seems to be much more fruitful to the whole continent because we shall be sharing resources and good practices so that our kids will not be limited here, they will be competitive not only at continental level, but also at the global level,” Dr. Gasingirwa said.
Benjamin Ntivuguruzwa, a teacher of Physics and Chemistry at G.S Cyiri in Gisagara district, Southern Province told The Inspirer the launch of Africa Science Olympiad in Rwanda is key towards arising a critical thinking among the little children from primary and secondary schools.
He said that some of the existing challenges to children to embrace STEM education include fearing Mathematics, thinking it is a complicated subject. He believes that the Olympiad will bring significant changes in STEM promotion and students’ performance.
The government of Rwanda has prioritized STEM education as a key component of its Education Sector Strategic Plan, spanning from 2018/19 to 2023/24.
However, there is a significant gender gap, with only 20% of girls enrolled in STEM-related subjects, compared to 40% of boys. This situation is attributed to the lack of access to quality STEM education.
According to a report from the African Development Bank (AfDB), less than 25% of African higher education students pursue studies in the field of STEM, comparing to the 2016 UNESCO report that shows that only 25% of primary school students in Africa are enrolled in STEM-related subjects.