Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (S.T.E.M.) Badges in Africa

Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (S.T.E.M.) Badges in Africa
(more about Open Badges for Africa)

1 ½ Day Workshop

Presented by the African Scientific Institute (ASI),

ICET, Illinois USA Pathways, Nigeria’s NOTAP,

Republic of Benin’s Dr. Ezin, University of Ghana

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Date: November 18 & 19, 2013

The need for African competent Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals has been expounded upon repeatedly.

Today’s world is rapidly changing. Economic and social scenarios evolve in the blink of an eye, and scientific progress and technological innovations set the pace for the rest of the planet. Therefore, science is the major key to Africa’s revival. Where should we start?

The presenters of this workshop discussed our services to support educators and our partners on farm sites to change the course of the future and meet the need for integrating science, technology, engineering, and math content into their current instruction as a mechanism for economic growth and job creation.

Concept Note

Africa has only 35 scientists and engineers per million inhabitants, compared with 168 for Brazil, 2,457 for Europe and 4,103 for the United States. Shortage of skills has been a major constraint to Africa’s progress in science, technology and innovation. The Pan African University (PAU) is the latest initiative put in place to address the skills shortage.

Unfortunately only 5% of young people in Sub Saharan Africa attend university (Awuah, 2012). A challenge for this initiative will be finding students for the university on a continent where secondary education enrollment is 43 percent more than 21.6 million children of lower secondary school age may never spend a single day in school and for those who want to attend where there are enough school places for just 36% of children of age to enroll (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2012). There is a need for alternative pathways to develop STEM capacity in essential skill shortage areas such as agriculture. This pathways needs to recognizes the large number children who do not follow a path to University and involve building STEM capacity in Primary aged children before they stop attending school .

The STEM Basic Steps Workshop responded to this need through a workshop in Nigeria that focused on creating STEM badges for people to earn as part of a Basic Education (UNESCO, 2013), which includes options involving technical and vocational education (UNESCO, 2013). The workshop developed by the International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) will be facilitated by fellows from the African Scientific Institute (ASI) a non-profit organization representing a network of scientists, engineers, technologists, and health professionals, as well as young people aspiring to enter the world of science and technology.

As our follow-up efforts, the focus of the first wave of badges will reflect the PAU thematic area of Earth and Life Sciences (Pan African University, 2013) with a specific focus on the ADB priority of Food Security (African Development Bank Group, 2013)

Workshop Objectives

1. Facilitate the exchange of knowledge about the core needs of food security in the West African region;
2. Discuss the concept of using “Badges” and identify a list of badges that will form the basis of a classification system for the food security badging system; and
3. Prepare regional inputs for a youth focused post-2015 food security agenda. Special focus will be on quality learning through a competency based system reflecting a regionally relevant adaptation of the Scout personal progressive, badging scheme system.

Expected Outcomes

The workshop:

  • provided recommendations on a competency based on a relevant adaptation of the Scout personal progressive, badging scheme system to complement post-2015 education goals and targets.
  • fed into the Global Education First Conference GEFC planned to be held in Chicago in October 2014, and eventually a Global STEM Assembly to be held in Cincinnati in 2015.


Regional representation will included delegates from Ghana, Nigeria and Benin. Local delegates included Government representatives, experts and researchers from universities and research institutions, key international/regional/national organizations and civil society and non-governmental organizations.

Works Cited

African Development Bank Group. (2013, October 15 Tuesday). African Development Bank Group. Retrieved from AfDB’s Strategy for 2013–2022:

Awuah, P. (2012, Summer). Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from Path to a New Africa:

Pan African University. (2013, October 15 Tuesday). Life and Earth Sciences Institute . Retrieved from Life and Earth Sciences Programs:

UNESCO. (2013, October 15). Basic Education in Africa Programme. Retrieved from UNESCO OFFICE IN DAKAR:

UNESCO. (2013, October 15). Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Retrieved from UNESCO Offcie in Dakar:

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2012). Global Education Digest 2011 – Focus on Secondary Education. Retrieved from UNESCO Institute for Statistics:

Workshop Agenda

November 18, 2013: Food Security in West Africa

8:00 – 8:30 am Continental Breakfast Available in Meeting Room; Informal Networking

8:30 – 9:00 am Registration

9:00 – 9:30 am Welcome and Self‐Introductions
Welcome, introductions, and overview

9:30 – 10:30 am The core needs of food security in the West African region;

Key Document Regional Agricultural Policy for West Africa

Noon – 1 pm Networking Lunch

1:00 – 4:00 pm Resource management, Agricultural supply chains and promoting markets

Key Docs:
1. Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
2. Agricultural Science

November 19, 2013

8:30 – 9:00 am Continental Breakfast Available in Meeting Room; Informal Networking

9:00 – 10:00 am Discussion on Badges and Building the Badging Program

Team A: Resource management Badges
Key Docs:

  • Farming and Natural Resources
  • Plant Production
  • Animal Production

1. Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
2. Agricultural Science

3. Horticulture
4. Agricultural Mechanics and Technology

10:30 – 10:45 am Coffee Break

10:45 – 11:30 am Discussion and Q&A

11:30 – 12:00 pm Wrap‐Up and Conclusions by

Noon – 1 pm Networking Lunch

Click Here to learn more about Open Badges for Africa

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