The Yamoransa Model Labs hosted the AIRTAD ’23 Roundtable and Robotics Competition on February 20-21, 2023, at the Accra Digital Centre in Accra.
The two-day event was organised by Implementers and funded by the Helping Africa Foundation (HAF) under the theme, “The YM Labs Program – Building an inclusive and sustainable STEAM Education for the future’.
The Yamoransa Model Labs have been a successful and long-lasting method of promoting STEAM education for the past six years in Africa.
AIRTAD ’23 brought together STEAM education stakeholders to discuss the impact of their organisations in Africa while it aimed to increase students’ interest in mathematics, science, and technology and their ability to communicate effectively, creatively and emotionally.
The first day kicked off with a Robotics exhibition and the 14 STEAM-labs showcasing ideas relevant to sustainable development goals – Goal 2 (Zero Hunger); Goal 3 (Good health & Well-being); Goal 4 (Quality Education); Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation); Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and Goal 13 (Climate Action).
The students displayed solar electrification, water and sanitation devices, farming tools for effective farming, weather and flood monitors, automatic sensor sanitisers, incubators, and a lot more creative projects.
ATTAINMENT OF THE SDGs THROUGH PARTNERSHIP AND STEAM-NOVATIONS
The Sophomore Edition featured well-known STEAM sector leaders who spoke about outstanding achievements as well as some challenges to overcome.
During the roundtable discussions, the Executive Director of HAF, Japhet Aryiku, emphasised the
importance of STEAM education. He went on to say that STEAM education teaches students how to apply their knowledge and skills to find long-lasting, eco-friendly solutions.
In his discussion on STEAM, the Projects Director of Implementers, Kafui Prebbie said that while a STEM-literate culture ensures that citizens may obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a cutthroat society, it is crucial to combine it with the arts, thus the term STEAM Education.
Mr Prebbie stated that “The AIRTAD is expected to boost the interest of the students in STEAM, where people learn science and technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics such that they learn how to be able to connect emotionally and work with their colleagues.
“So, they study the science but they also study the arts of it, emotional intelligence, collaborative working to achieve the practical projects.”
Alana C. Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor of International Affairs – University of Colorado, Denver, also took the opportunity of the roundtable discussion to stress the impact of the labs and its association with the SDGs and also details about how projects like the YM Labs has the necessity of encouraging more women to pursue STEAM fields, and the ultimate goal of obtaining government backing for their
initiatives in STEAM education across the nation.
Additionally, Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, Dean of the School of Engineering Science – University of Ghana, Legon, also shared how STEAM education is critical to meeting the changing demands of today’s workforce to empower tomorrow’s women, however, called on stakeholders and government to complement the efforts being made.
According to Prof. Kaufmann, “some of them (students) come to engineering school but sometimes the way in which we continue to teach them, they lose the opportunity for practical application when they go higher up. We lose all of that opportunity”.
She further questioned, “is it really the job of the university to start churning out products? So, we need partnerships from industries to come and take some of these bright young programs, these things that the students demonstrate and convert them to commercial products that we can all benefit from”.
AIRTAD ’23 ROBOTIC COMPETITION AND INNOVATION
The equipment used by the students to create their inventions were from the Yamoransa Model Labs program, with 129 schools currently benefiting from the Robotics Labs across 12 Regions in Ghana with more labs soon to be completed in the remaining 4 regions in Ghana.
Students in the 12 Regions across Ghana and the Gambia are learning from skilled centre managers through education at the EDULabs
and Makerspace Labs.
On day 2 of AIRTAD ‘23, an EDULab competition on ICT and robotics was held between the Yamoransa Model Labs.
The robotics competition was divided into two sections.
The first phase saw JHS students from Yamoransa Model Lab 1-12 as well as SHS students from Yamoransa Model Lab 3.1 and Yamoransa Model Lab Gambia being tasked to create a piece of robotic equipment that can solve a challenge/problem in their country in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The competition teased out great innovative ideas; from a smart stick for the visually impaired, to an automatic traffic light sensor, an earthquake alarm, a smart hand sanitiser dispenser, heavy-lifting robots, and various detection robots were displayed for grading.
At the end of the competition, YM Lab 2 from the Greater Accra Region of Ghana emerged winner of the Junior High School category while YM Lab 3.1, from the Ashanti Region emerged winner of the Senior High School category. An award ceremony was held to officially draw the curtains on the Annual Impact Roundtable Discussion and Robotics Competition (AIRTAD ‘23).
Winning labs were rewarded with Educational Funds, ICT tools and their centre managers and Ghana Education Service(GES) Representatives were appreciated for their work.
Also, the executives from the Helping Africa Foundation were also acknowledged for their work in promoting STEAM education.
Other stakeholders at the conference were Evelyn Agyepong, Regional STMIE – Ghana Education Service; Paul Pleva, Office Director – Economic Unit, USAID Ghana; Joshua Opoku Agyemang, President, IoT Network Hub Africa; Toyin Diana, Project Manager – Ghana Science & Tech Explorer Prize (GSTEP) – MEST Africa.
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