MUBAS for STEM as a key strategy in ensuring social economic development

Article   Lucy Isaac   February 22, 2024
PIC: Karonga St Mary's Girls Secondary School students during the session

The Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS), through the Skills for A Vibrant Economy (SAVE) project, in October 2023 conducted a campaign in various secondary schools across the country to encourage students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. 

The campaign aimed at raising awareness and encouraging students to take on STEM related programmes in secondary schools across the country. This initiative became necessary for the University after noting that a number of female students shun STEM subjects. It was observed that lack of awareness on STEM related subjects negatively impacts the country's educational landscape. It was also noted that this knowledge gap not only limits the competitiveness of the Malawian students on the global level but also affects the nation's ability to produce a workforce equipped to address modern challenges.  

In addition, in Malawi, gender inequality continues to affect the STEM landscape with most girls shunning the discipline. This follows widely shared myths and misconceptions on STEM with many girls believing that science, mathematical subjects, and careers in STEM are predominantly for male students. In addressing these challenges, the University engaged a team of professions to conduct a campaign targeting in and out of school youths on STEM initiative.

Sarah Khudze, a lead facilitator in STEM and also a lecturer in Computer Sciences at the University,  mentioned that as students become more informed about the relevance and potential of STEM, they are more likely to actively engage in STEM related activities and seek opportunities for further exploration and skill development, thereby contributing to the attainment of Malawi 2063 agenda. 

“Many youths in Malawi, especially in rural areas, may have dropped out of school due to various reasons such as financial challenges. We extended our reach to include out-of-school youths, providing them with opportunities to acquire STEM knowledge and skills outside the formal education system,” said Khudze.

During the campaigns, the team, highlighted the importance of STEM, its various applications across different sectors, and examples of STEM careers. 

The students were also briefed on the importance of breaking gender stereotypes and encouraging girls to fearlessly pursue post-secondary school STEM programmes.  The team shared success stories of women thriving in STEM careers to challenge misconceptions surrounding STEM and highlight the vast opportunities available. The team encouraged the students to participate in hands-on activities, join science clubs, and foster teamwork. 

 


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