On Friday 3rd February 2017, I had the honor and pleasure of witnessing the official launch of ASA; African Science Academy at Tema Community 6. To me, history was made because, for many years, advocates of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community have voiced out the need to promote STEM education especially for the girl child but none had come this close until ASA arrived!
ASA began in August 2016 where girls across Africa are given a life-changing program that is mainly focused on STEM alongside some of the greatest minds the continent has to offer. The Academy is an Advanced level, pre-university boarding school for young girls who are passionate about STEM related subjects. Many girls from various countries in Africa applied for this once in a lifetime opportunity but only 24 were granted admission after a rigorous entrance exam in mathematics, physics, problem-solving skills and the final stage of face-to-face interview. The one-year program consists of 3 core subjects at advanced levels which will allow them to sit the internationally recognized Cambridge International A Levels.
According to Efua Adabie; head teacher, “the curriculum is varied and exciting…the skills you learn here will guide you as you pursue the universities of your choice”.
Dr Thomas Tagoe, co-founder of GhScientific recounted his experience with one of the parents present at the launch. According to him the parent was “ecstatic and proud” and that indeed “not many people even after 16 years of education encounter the great minds that these girls have within their short stay at ASA” Although it is a fee paying school, ASA has a fully funded scholarship program which can cover up to 100% of fees and expenses.
Many of the girls at ASA voiced out to guests how the Academy has changed their lives, especially their self-confidence, with ASA providing them a sense of vision and purpose to take over the STEM world in Africa. These girls left their home countries; Uganda, Togo, Nigeria, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and different parts of Ghana to be a part of the pioneering class at the Academy.
Founded by African Gifted Foundation Ghana a registered Ghanaian NGO, which is a subsidiary of the African Gifted Foundation, a UK registered charity in 2010, ASA’s journey began with Dr. Tom Ilube Chair and founder; Britain’s Most Powerful Black Person and currently the person to set up Africa’s first specialist science school for girls!
Guests at the launch were entertained with beautiful cultural display, poetry and songs from the students.
The guest of honor; His Excellency Jon Benjamin, British High Commissioner to Ghana, identified the uniqueness of ASA which he believes must be shared and encouraged and he even went a step further to profusely praise Tom Ilube, the founder.
Lucy Quist, MD of Airtel Ghana a well-known passionate advocate of STEM education, the popular Dr. Elsie Kaufman of the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ), the Minister-designate of Information; Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, Former Defense Minister, Francis Opoku, numerous advocates from the world of STEM and several other dignitaries from the British and American embassies graced the occasion to show their support.
African Science Academy will be receiving applications in August 2017, for further information on how to apply please contact Helen Denyer at email@example.com or on +233(0)546953667.
WRITER- Mina Nana Yaa- threesixty writer/contributor.