June 22, 2013
June 22, 2013
June 22, 2013
ASEE International Forum
21.16.1 - 21.16.10
Challenges and opportunities in developing STEM curricula for tertiary institutions in Africa: Materials Science and Engineering at AUST-Abuja.Recent high GDP growth rates and increasing foreign investment in several African countriessuggest an economic development “take-off”. In recognition of this situation as well as the needto add value to the abundant natural resources, both governments and private entrepreneurs areinvesting in tertiary institutions in Africa focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering andMath (STEM) to provide the needed highly trained personnel to support and sustain economicdevelopment and growth. The core competencies and behaviors to be cultivated in theseinstitutions are what STEM educators worldwide deem crucial for economic competitiveness andjob creation. These include, according to the US National Academies Report, The Engineer of2020 - Visions of Engineering in the New Century, oral and written communications, criticalthinking, analytical and innovative problem solving, practical ingenuity, creativity, agility, teamwork, and an appreciation for life-long learning.In this presentation we highlight the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), aprivate, pan-African, coeducational university located in Abuja, Nigeria. Her mission is to“advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarshipthat will best serve the African continent in the 21st century”. Starting in 2008, graduateprograms at the master’s level have been offered in Computer Science and Engineering,Materials Science & Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Theoretical and Applied Physics, andPure and Applied Mathematics. We discuss in particular opportunities for innovative ideas forthe Material Science & Engineering curriculum. The desire is to ensure a well-roundedgrounding of the students not only in the physical aspects of Materials Science but also thechemical aspects. A further intent is to inspire the students to make things by providing themwith engineering tools and skills to apply their scientific knowledge of materials. We alsodiscuss several challenges including the backgrounds of the students, availability of faculty andthe logistics of the number of courses and the duration of each one.In conclusion we contend that, despite severe challenges for tertiary institutions in Africa, it isimportant to make the most of opportunities to explore and adopt innovative curricula to achievestated academic and national objectives.
Osseo-Asare, K., & Atiemo-Obeng, V. A. (2013, June), Challenges and opportunities in developing STEM curricula for tertiary institutions in Africa: Materials Science and Engineering at AUST-Abuja Paper presented at 2013 ASEE International Forum, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/17221
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