Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and with that growth there will be a huge demand for engineering and science jobs in the coming years. This project seeks to engage a Ghanaian company that makes re-usable science kits that teaches students core science skills and the opportunity to learn in a practical setting about basic electronics - circuits, magnetism, switches, resistors, and light. The kits can be used multiple times as they do not require any special equipment, they are self-contained and can be used in existing classroom situations. Possessing a complete science education will be critical for Ghanaian students preparing to enter the job market of the future. A firm understanding of the scientific method prepares students of all sorts with necessary critical thinking skills. This project will focus on establishing a science club for the Catholic Junior High School in the Peace Corps Volunteer's community. This club will hold weekly meetings and carry out activities that will not only allow students to learn about science concepts, but then would allow students to practically apply what they learned in functional science experiments.
Over the past two school terms, the PCV has assisted local teachers and faculty with Integrated Science education at the JHS. During this time the faculty and the PCV have determined that giving the students access to hands-on science education should be an objective at our school. The PCV proposed the establishment of a science lab club, and showed them the DEXT kits as a cost effective tool for this project. Faculty were very enthusiastic about this prospect, and have been eager to assist with the project. The faculty had indicated that, though modestly priced, the school would not have the funds to purchase the kits themselves. Additionally, the faculty agreed that the financial burden of having the students' families purchase the kits would restrict access to the majority of students. Science teachers have instead agreed to donate their time to this project outside of normal school hours. Additionally, the school has been willing to donate a room with a locking door at the JHS to hold the science club meetings.
It was determined that a vacant room behind the school laboratory room would be the most suitable space for housing the materials for the DEXT kits. This room is normally locked when not in use, and experiments would be performed in the laboratory room itself, minimizing the need to move the equipment back and forth. These kits are designed for using in schools in developing countries, so there is no need to hardwire them, or to provide expensive utilities to the laboratory room. Electronic components of the kits are interchangeable, so broken or used parts can be replaced in the short-term with parts from unused kits. In the long-term, the individual components can be ordered individually from the company, and the small membership donation for the students will be used to supply replacement parts. Though the PCV will be involved directly in the planning and implementation of the science club curriculum for the first term, he will be stepping back involvement over time, and handing off responsibilities to the JHS science staff as the club continues. The plan is to have a science club at the JHS that is run by the regular JHS staff and student leaders which will continue to run effectively without the PCV's involvement.