The rise of online learning, which began even before the Covid 19 pandemic, is becoming more mainstream. This is good news for African students, especially those interested in STEM fields.
STEM education in Africa is not as developed as in developed countries. This is due to a range of factors including poverty, inadequate funding for STEM programs, unqualified or untrained teachers, and inadequate learning aids.
Consequently, many African students opt for non-STEM fields. According to the African Bank of Development, less than 25% of African higher education learners are in STEM fields. As a result, the continent suffers a crippling deficit of STEM experts, which contributes to stunting its growth and development.
For instance, a 2013 report by the Royal Academy of Engineering revealed that Africa lacks engineers with sufficient skills and experience. The report highlighted that the predominant reason for the low capacity of engineers in Sub-Saharan Africa was engineers graduating without the necessary skills and experience to be employable.
Thankfully, there are plenty of free online resources that African students interested in STEM can use to develop their knowledge and skills. Let’s explore some of them:
# 1- Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a free online resource where students from all over the world can learn at their own pace. The learning programs are created by experts and contain lessons ranging from science, math, and more.
The user-friendly Smithsonian website allows learners and teachers to search for lessons by age, grade level, and topic. Topics available include engineering design, instruction, life science, earth and space science, chemistry, and physical science. It features standards-aligned instructional video games, simulations, eBooks, games, and hands-on activities that require common household materials. Some resources require the use of technology but there are plenty of resources for students in low-tech environments.
#3 – PBS Learning Media
While it’s primarily designed for educators, PBS Learning Media is another great resource that international high schoolers can use to boost their knowledge and skills. The website contains thousands of free resources including videos, lesson plans, and games. High schoolers will especially be interested in the content that shows what it’s like to work in different STEM careers – which will help them in selecting their college majors.
#4 – Code Academy
Formerly knowns as Iridescent Learning, Technovation is a global tech education nonprofit that inspires girls to be leaders and problem-solvers in their lives and their community. It helps girls to identify problems that plague their communities and use technology to create solutions. This is a valuable resource for girls that would like to pursue STEM majors in college.
EdX provides various free courses, to which international students have access. The resource contains STEM courses including computer science, data science, engineering, mathematics, physics, electronics, and much more. The courses on EdX are designed with a focus on gaining experience, practicing and demonstrating knowledge, and applying the information you learn to the real world.
Ambitious African high school students can enroll in free MIT Open Courseware courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students can select courses based on topic. The majority of the courses on the platform are designed for undergraduate and graduate levels. However, there are some specifically meant for high school students.
#8- Girls Who Code
#9. Cool Math
Cool Math is a website that provides clear mathematical explanations for pre-algebra, algebra, and pre-calculus ideas. The site also features practice games (such as Pac-Man-style games, card games, and business simulations) and references (such as a mathematical dictionary, math survival, and careers in mathematics). The website is intended for high schoolers – from age 13 onwards.
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