Bridging the Gap in STEM Education
In an increasingly interconnected world, providing quality education to all children remains a challenge. Amidst a plethora of resource materials, curriculums, and teaching methods, the STEPS (STEM Teacher/student Education for Primary Schools) project aims to streamline education by curating and contextualizing resources that cater to diverse classrooms globally. This project is largely funded by a grant from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in collaboration with the Knowledge & Innovation Exchange (KIX) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The objective is to create full textbooks for students and comprehensive teacher guides, thereby fostering a wholesome learning environment and removing the barriers to quality primary school STEM education for those marginalized by poverty, geography, language, and gender around the world.
Harnessing International Resources for Mathematics
The project kicked off with the development of Mathematics curriculum materials, drawing upon resources from Ukuqonda, a South African organization renowned for its holistic approach to Math education. The goal is to create comprehensive textbooks and teacher guides in English for use in Cameroon. Additionally, a core part of the project is the development of ‘Threshold Understandings,’ a book that encapsulates the fundamental concepts in Mathematics, presented in French. This book aims to establish a foundational understanding of the subject for students, enabling them to build upon these basics as they advance in their learning journey and will be available for teachers in Benin and the DRC to support their teaching.
To make these resources more accessible, STEPS is focusing on reducing reading levels and incorporating more graphics, especially for lower grades. This will reduce the amount of reading required, making the learning process more engaging for the students.
Integrating Science Education
Taking a leaf from Core Knowledge (US) and Siyavula (South African) – both celebrated for their impactful Science curriculums – STEPS is embarking on the creation of Science curriculum materials. The objective is to develop teacher companion guides to facilitate inquiry-based lessons and student workbooks filled with readings and activities that encourage hands-on learning for students.
A key focus of STEPS in the Science curriculum is the simplification of lesson planning. This is to enable teachers to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on actual teaching and student interaction.
Contextualizing Materials for Relevant Learning
One of the unique attributes of STEPS curriculum development is its commitment to contextualization. This involves incorporating local and regional examples into lessons, making the learning experience more relatable to the students. This approach helps students better understand and appreciate the practical applications of the theories they learn.
Moreover, the STEPS project relies heavily on teachers’ insights regarding how they typically teach certain topics. This collaborative approach ensures that the curriculum is not only comprehensive but also adaptable to different teaching styles and classroom environments.
The team is also researching key topics that may have initiated changes in the curriculum, ensuring that the resources they develop are up-to-date and in line with current educational standards and trends.
Towards a Better Tomorrow
The STEPS project is a testament to the global effort to make quality STEM education accessible to all. By integrating resources from different parts of the world and tailoring them to suit various learning environments, STEPS is making significant strides in the field of curriculum development. We eagerly anticipate the successful realization of this project and its potential impact on shaping the learners of tomorrow.