In 2016, a study commissioned by Tullow Ghana indicated skills gaps in youth employability due to low education progression rate in the Western Region of Ghana. Following the study, Tullow Ghana partnered with Youth Bridge Foundation, a youth-focused non-governmental organisation, and the Ghana Education Service to initiate a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) project targeted at Junior and Senior High Schools within the seven (7) coastal districts where Tullow operates. This led to the birth of the ‘Mobile STEM Clinics’ in 2018.
The Mobile STEM Clinics have been a game changer for students in these fishing communities with limited access to educational infrastructure. The clinics provide access to science equipment and laboratory experiments that are needed for understanding the theoretical concepts taught in schools. The laboratory setup is carried in vans and stationed in locations that are accessible to the students. During the clinic, facilitators give students the opportunity to be able to undertake laboratory experiments with science and maths equipment, and to ask questions based on their experience.
The clinics have been very instrumental in preparing final-year Junior High School (JHS) students from the beneficiary communities for their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), with a keen focus on Mathematics and Integrated Science. The 7-day clinic also allows experts from the Ghana Education Service to provide best practices and critical insights into the examination for the benefit of the candidates. A striking feature of the clinic is the ‘Peer-to-Peer Mentorship’ Module which enables past beneficiaries of the project to share their personal experiences from STEM education and consequently help to boost the confidence of prospective BECE candidates.
Since its inception in 2018, the impact of this flagship project has been massive across the seven coastal districts of Ellembelle, Jomoro, Effia Kwesimintim, Sekondi-Takoradi, Nzema East, Shama, and Ahanta West. Education progression has improved, as the project has led to many beneficiaries enrolling in tertiary institutions, the first batch of which are currently in final year in these institutions. This impact has also been manifested through beneficiaries who have become STEM ambassadors, projecting the gains of the programme in Senior High Schools and tertiary institutions. This year, more than 1300 students participated in the Mobile STEM Clinics in preparation for their annual BECE. Previous years recorded over 1600 participants, bringing the total beneficiaries of the program close to 3000 participants in its 4-year implementation period.
Commenting on the impact of the project, Deputy Managing Director for Tullow Ghana, Mrs. Cynthia Lumor said “At Tullow, we recognize that STEM education is an important building block for the socio-economic development of our host communities. That is why we invest in several STEM-related initiatives including the Mobile STEM Clinic to give young Ghanaians, access to practical science sessions to ensure that no one is left behind in accessing quality STEM education. We believe that this will bridge the resource gap and spur beneficiaries onto higher heights”.
The Mobile STEM Clinic is funded by Tullow Ghana Limited under its ‘Educate to Innovate with STEM’ project which is implemented by the Youth Bridge Foundation.