As low- and middle-income countries make efforts to transition away from agricultural-based economies, it becomes critical to build a workforce that is skilled to enable economic development. Ghana, for example, recognizes the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to create robust manufacturing and other industries. Despite being a national priority, demand for STEM-based courses is relatively low at 33 percent of total enrollments in 2016. The key challenge is to improve student’s interest and participation in STEM fields.
This study evaluates the Ghanaian pre-degree program in engineering, a one-year bridging course available to non-science high school graduates. The program is currently in the pilot phase at three tertiary institutions and aims to inculcate a foundation of engineering skills, critical thinking, problem-solving and entrepreneurship. The evaluation will compare the outcomes of students who go through the pre-degree program to those who gained entry into an engineering degree directly. The researchers will use administrative data from the pilot schools to run an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression with inverse propensity score weighting – students from the intervention and comparison groups are matched based on observable characteristics such as grades, gender, parent’s education, and income level.
The results of this evaluation are expected to inform Ministry of Education decisions around STEM preparation courses for students and potentially scaling up the pre-degree engineering program. Results forthcoming.
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