The socio-economic future of Southern Africa lies in the region’s ability to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education as the main drivers of economic development. The ability to use STEM related knowledge innovatively, depends upon an adequately capacitated and scientifically literate population. The provision of a sound STEM education in all institutions of learning is therefore imperative. This report gives the background and status of STEM education in Zimbabwe. (Download the report here Diagnostic Study on Status of STEM Education in Zimbabwe Report)
Economic growth in the 21st century is being driven by the nation’s ability to both generate ideas and translate them into innovative products and services. A strong consensus is emerging among political, scientific, business, and education leaders that a country’s ability to innovate and compete in the global marketplace is directly tied to the ability of the education system to adequately prepare all learners in STEM.
The saturation of technology in most fields means that all students; not just those who plan to pursue a STEM profession; will require a solid foundation in STEM to be productive members of the workforce. Studies show that STEM is more than an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM education is an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to learning that provides hands-on and relevant learning experiences for students. STEM teaching and learning goes beyond the mere acquisition and transfer of knowledge. It engages and equips students with critical thinking, problem solving, creative and collaborative skills, and ultimately establishes connections between the school, workplace, community and the global economy. (Download the report here Diagnostic Study on Status of STEM Education in Zimbabwe Report)
It is nationally acknowledged that Zimbabwe continues to face economic and social challenges that are a significant risk to the human development gains of the last ten years. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicated that, despite progress in implementing macroeconomic and structural reform, Zimbabwe’s “economic prospects remain difficult” and the country is in “debt distress.” Research findings recently published by the World Bank and Elsevier highlighted that Sub-Saharan Africa’s research output in STEM lags behind that of other subject areas significantly: (http://drpfconsults.com/understanding-the-basics-ofstem-
As evidence, it was established that research in the Physical Sciences and STEM made up only 29% of all research in Sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa. Furthermore, it was shown that the share of STEM research in Sub-Saharan Africa has marginally declined by 0.2% annually since 2002. The findings also showed that in 2012, the quality of STEM research in Sub-Saharan Africa, as measured by relative citation impact, was 0.68 (32 percent below the global average). This was below that of all disciplines in Sub-Saharan Africa (0.92) and the global average (1.00), and it has virtually stayed the same since 2003. (Download the report here Diagnostic Study on Status of STEM Education in Zimbabwe Report)
However, although a lot has been said in recent times about STEM Education in Zimbabwe, not much scientific research has been done on establishing the context in which STEM education is delivered, identifying the challenges faced in the delivery of STEM education, investigating opportunities for the enhancement of STEM education, and identifying the magnitude of STEM research in Zimbabwe. This study sought to pursue research gaps in STEM education in Zimbabwe.
(Download the report here Diagnostic Study on Status of STEM Education in Zimbabwe Report)