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CEMASTEA Launches STEM Mentorship Program for Secondary Schools

CEMASTEA Launches STEM Mentorship Program for Secondary Schools

To address underperformance in STEM-related subjects in secondary schools in the nation, the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) has increased its efforts.

As part of the government’s vision 2030 initiative, the ambitious program aims to improve the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in secondary schools.

CEMASTEA, a state corporation under the Education Ministry, spearheads the initiative.

The State Corporation is implementing an outreach and mentorship program to encourage and inspire students to pursue STEM subjects in secondary and tertiary institutions.

Using models and play-based learning helps dispel the notion that sciences are reserved for a specific group, according to CEMASTEA National Trainer Clotilda, Nyongesa Murambi, who was speaking at the conclusion of a one-week outreach program at Shitoli Secondary School.

She noted that they stir up interest in STEM to gear towards the 4th industrial revolution and to change the world around us. She also mentioned that when the children engage with the apparatus and experiments, they realize that gender is not an issue and that regardless of their background, they can understand STEM subjects, even girls.

She explained that the program is based on a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, which revealed that candidates in secondary schools have continued to perform poorly on national examinations in science-related subjects over time.

The research conducted in 2016 in 102 secondary schools revealed a high rate of underperformance in science and mathematics subjects.

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Other studies reveal that only 22 percent of Kenyan university students enroll in STEM subjects, compared to 70 percent in Asian Tiger nations such as South Korea and Singapore.

STEM activities are premised on students enrolling in mathematics and science-related subjects and pursuing STEM-related courses in tertiary education. They are designed to promote learner-centered lessons for effective curriculum implementation.

According to John Odhiambo, the CEMASTEA National Trainer, the aim is to enhance the attitude of the school administration, teachers, and students towards mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology subjects.

According to Dr. Karanja Mutito, a national trainer for CEMASTEA, the Competency-Based Curriculum includes STEM subjects.

“Let the teachers develop the concepts by involving learners in the various activities which will enhance good perception and performance of STEM subjects,” he noted.

Many teachers and students praised the training, stating that the theory-to-practice approach was required to make the teaching of sciences interactive and ensure learners retained their knowledge.

Teachers of science subjects stated that they had been exposed to various concepts and models that have simplified teaching techniques and increased student interest in science subjects.

Jones Mwando, a science teacher at St. Patrick’s Ikonyero Secondary School, praised CEMASTEA for increasing the capacity of science teachers and assisting in transforming learners’ perceptions.

Mwando opined that through the mentorship program, she has been able to learn innovative teaching strategies that will have a significant impact on the academic performance of her students.

She stated that the trainers had simplified teachings of certain topics by utilizing different models. As a result, the attitude and misconceptions of some students toward science subjects have been altered.

She also praised the practical innovations the learners have been exposed to, which have made learning science subjects interesting and ensured that they retain their knowledge.

“The negative attitude towards sciences is likely to change with this kind of exposure,” she added.

She remarked that a lack of laboratory facilities constrain many schools. Still, she added that some innovations they have been exposed to would greatly enhance their capacity.

Eugene Lugisa, a form two student at St. Patricks’ Ikonyero Secondary School, said that after the trainers simplified some of the concepts, he had changed his negative perception of physics and robotics.

The trainers’ emphasis on using visual aids in secondary school science, according to Isabella Makanzi and Elias Mutende, was crucial in ensuring that learners retained their knowledge.

“Visual aids help the learner remember concepts and enhance their memory,” said Makanzi.

Mutende stated that through the CEMASTEA outreach program, he had gained the ability to be innovative and expose students to more practical lessons to make learning the subjects more interesting.

Students in Form 2 at Emetetei Secondary School, Julius Kefa and Vivian Khaimba, reported that using visual aids had facilitated their comprehension of some of the concepts they had encountered in class but had found challenging.

Science teachers from the school, Beatrice Kavere, and Kevin Waswa, acknowledged the impact the CEMASTEA training has had on the students, stating that it was engaging and more practical, thereby ingraining what the learner has theoretically learned.

The CEMASTEA team visited the secondary schools of Kilimo girls, St. Francis Xavier Shipalo, St. Patrick’s Ikonyero, Emetetei, and Our Lady of Assumption Shitoli.

CEMASTEA is responsible for enhancing the capacity of mathematics and science teachers through In-service Education and Training (INSET) and coordinating the development of competencies for effective curriculum delivery and enhanced secondary education quality.

CEMASTEA Launches STEM Mentorship Program for Secondary Schools

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