The teaching and learning of Science and its related courses has been a major nightmare in Ghana over the years. Though Science education is a solid bedrock of country’s growth, Ghana seems to be lacking in many areas. A popular example is Science labs in the basic schools. A very huge majority of basic schools in the country do not have Science laboratories for their Science practical works. This has driven a group of Ghanaians to create Prac-Science Lab. They are helping to bring changes in order to improve Science education and related courses.
The Lead and Project Coordinator for Prac-Science Lab, Harry Akligoh recently wrote a piece on the situation. In the write-up, Akligoh stressed on how they were using the Prac-Science Lab initiative to change the narrative of Ghanaian Science education.
“The study and application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) plays a pivotal role in national development. This has necessitated the need to encourage the younger generation to pursue Science and its related courses to the highest level on the academic ladder. Although it is a fact that the theoretical and practical study of Science goes hand-in-hand, the traditional method of teaching Science has fallen short of the practical aspect. Consider its impact on 4,618 basic schools in the country.”
Harry Akligoh noted that the problem was complex and thus, a single solution won’t suffice. He continued that “understanding the problem reveals that unavailability of modern Science laboratories, inadequate teaching and learning materials, low level of specialised staff for teaching STEM, and the inherent fear of learners for STEM are major setbacks to Ghana having improvement with STEM at the basic level”.
Prac-Science Lab is an ancillary organisation under Kumasi Hive. It began as a project to address Science education challenges “by converting available spaces within schools into labs and stocking them with low-cost materials and providing contemporary skills training to Science teachers”. They gave the teachers the training to enable them use the labs effectively to improve teaching and learning outcomes in Science at the basic school level.
Currently, Prac-Science Lab is operating in 6 basic schools in Kumasi and Ejisu.
A small survey…
The following is the results of a survey Harry Akligoh and his team conducted through the Prac-Science Lab project. The survey involved 11 Science teachers from 6 basic schools.
- Lack of teaching and learning materials (TLMs).
- Large class size.
- Lack of support from Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs).
- Inadequate skills by Science instructors (skill gap) affects the others directly.
In his write-up, Aklogoh wails that “challenges faced by teachers mostly in the teaching and learning of Science among basic schools in Ghana is due to the lack of Science teaching and learning materials which was reﬂected in our survey.”
“The lack of teaching and learning materials (TLMs) for Science education in Ghanaian basic schools has invariably affected the way Science is taught hence haying a tolling effect on how students understand Science concepts hence translating mostly into poor performance at the Basic Education Certiﬁcate Examination (BECE) and lack of interest in Science. The data from our survey clearly depicts that occurrence.
“The challenges within the basic educational system regarding the teaching and learning of Science are not only inherent on lack of TLMs but other challenges which are faced by teachers and schools including difficult concepts, time constraint to finish practical sessions and lack of support from Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) respectively.”
We wish Akligoh and his team on the Prac-Science Lab project success in this great endeavour.