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Bolgatanga East: Bondistance Project whips up students’ interest in Chemistry

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The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the CK Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences through the BONDISTANCE Project, has organised practical lessons for selected students from all the public Junior High Schools in the Bolgatanga East District of the Upper East Region.

The BONDISTANCE PROJECT aims to encourage young learners from pre-tertiary schools, especially female students, to develop an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

The project was partially funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK, a grant awarded to Dr. Gershon Amenuvor of the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), with partners from the Ghana Chemical Society (GCS), the Ghana Student’s Chemical Society (GSCS), and the Department of Applied Chemistry, School of Chemical and Biochemical Sciences, C. K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences (CKT-UTAS).

Ten (10) students from each of the 18 public JHSs in the Bolgatanga East District participated in the three-day activity. Students were guided through procedures to separate various kinds of mixtures, both physical and chemical; measure and analyse the pH level of water; and determine safe drinking water. They also learned how to produce common salt, among several other practical activities.

The RSC representative for Ghana, Prof. Johannes A. M. Awudza, mentioned that the regional distribution of students who study Chemistry at KNUST does not look favourable for the regions in the Northern part of the country. Hence, they decided to choose one of the districts in the north to undertake this program. He explained, “In the past at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, we mainly had male students, and later on, we started seeing female students as well. The percentage of female students is increasing. However, when we examine the distribution of students from different regions, we realised that those from the north are significantly fewer. Therefore, we felt the need to create an interest in Chemistry among students from the north. That’s why we partnered with CKT UTAS, to work on increasing the number of students who study Chemistry from the north.”

Prof. Awudza revealed that their findings showed that teenage pregnancies and misconceptions about Chemistry are factors contributing to the declining numbers of students from the north. He appealed to parents to serve as motivation for their children to pursue higher education. He emphasised, “As females grow to the adolescent stage, many of them drop out due to pregnancies. Some also believe that science, especially Chemistry, is too difficult for them. We are trying to encourage all of them to believe that it is not too difficult; they can do it. Parents should remember that girls are equally important when it comes to education. Parents should encourage their young girls to reach the highest level of education they can attain. They are very capable of achieving those higher levels. Parents should not marry off their children at a young age.”

The Head of Department of the Department of Applied Chemistry, CKTUTAS Dr. Mary Magdalene Pedavoah, made a passionate appeal to chiefs and opinion leaders in society to initiate discussions on how to encourage female students from their communities to pursue science-related programs.

Some students who participated in the program shared their excitement with A1 news, indicating that their interest had been sparked to pursue science-related programs. Others mentioned that they had learned practical lessons, especially on separating oil from water, which they could apply in their homes if the need arises.

The program was attended by the Bolgatanga East District Director of Education, the chief and elders of the Gambibgo community, the district STEM coordinator, and other stakeholders in education, as well as students and lecturers from both KNUST and CKT UTAS.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Samuel Adagom|Bolgatanga East|Ghana

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