The Space Science Systems Research Institute (SSSRI), under the exclusive management of NASA trained scientist, Dr Manfred Quarshie, has signed an agreement with Ahantaman Senior High School in the Western Region to design the first rescue assistance robot in Ghana.
The project, to be led by students of the school with assistance from SSSRI and teachers, is in response to the recent explosion at Appiatse in the Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region and the alarming rate of buildings collapsing as well as fire outbreaks across the country.
The robot, when completed, will be capable of assisting rescue mission teams to identify the location of victims trapped in such disasters, and also indicate whether the victims are dead or alive.
The project which was launched as part of the commemoration of 2022 UN Day for Women and Girls in Science at the school’s campus aims at inspiring young girls to believe in themselves when they set their minds and hearts to do something.
The day, actually recognized the critical role of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to the transformational agenda of the globe.
Addressing the public, the Headmistress of the school, Mrs Ernie Kankam indicated that the subtle role women and girls play, in the transformational agenda of the nation cannot be underestimated.
“Empowering the girl child in sciences is vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”, she added.
She said, “in order to encourage our girls that they can do anything with much determination and as part of our contribution to solving societal challenges, our girls with assistance from SSSRI will design a robot capable of assisting rescue mission teams to identify victims whether dead or alive during disasters.”
Explaining the motivation to collaborate with the Ahantaman SHS, President of SSSRI, Dr Manfred Quarshie reiterated the need for a shift in the country’s pedagogical approach to science education.
He said schools must help students to understand the principles and procedures underlying the scientific approaches to solving problems.
“Our goal is that through demonstrations, conversations and engaging in hands-on practical base experiments, presented by experts in STEM education, young girls will become empowered, cultivate confidence, and develop a deeper understanding that everything is possible in life and in the world”, he stated.
Ghana, he noted has persistent inequities in access, participation, and success in STEM subjects that exist along socioeconomic, gender, and geographic lines as well as among students with disabilities.
“These long-standing biases and gender stereotypes, are scaring women and girls away from science-related fields. In order to achieve full and equal access in the participation in science for women and girls, much investment needs to be made to achieve that goal, hence our commitment to sponsor and assist Ahantaman SHS to design the robot at the cost of 10,000 USD”, he added.
Dr Quarshie hinted that it is SSSRI’s vision to support the government’s effort and better prepare students for the rapid socio-economic, scientific and technological developments ahead and therefore recommended the facilitation of the ongoing renewal of the school curriculum as essential for their lifelong learning and whole-person development.
He also added that, apart from cultivating students’ interest in STEM and developing among them a solid knowledge base, SSSRI aims to strengthen students’ ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills across different STEM disciplines and to nurture their creativity and problem-solving skills, as well as to foster their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit as required in the 21st century.