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Strengthening STEM education and curricula for girls in Kenya

Within the framework of Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme “Strengthening STEM Curricula for Girls in Africa and Asia and the Pacific-Phase I” funded by Malaysia Funds-in-Trust, 60 experts met at the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD) to discuss around challenges and strategies to mainstreaming gender-sensitive STEM education in Kenya.
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Kenya vision 2030 will not be achieved without the active participation of girls and an increase of the uptake of STEM education. While the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST) aims to foster knowledge creation and its application for socio-economic growth, the Science Technology and Innovation law (ST&I) shall be adopted within the next couple of months to be a key driver for knowledge-based economy. The ongoing curriculum reform aims to address this challenge by developing a competency-based curriculum placing technology at the forefront of learning. 

During the workshop, the Deputy Director for Basic Education (KICD), seconded by the Director of the Policy and Planning Department of the MOEST and the audience emphasized the need to put gender-sensitive STEM at the core of the curriculum design and development process. The workshop engaged in a fruitful conversation and collective construction curriculum officers, representatives of the civil society, scholars, and representatives from the MOEST, the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) and the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA).

With regards to increasing the participation of girls into STEM education, areas of priority for intervention have been highlighted. Among the priority areas, stakeholders highlighted the need to mainstream a gender-sensitive view to the ST&I policy. Additionally, modules on gender approach to teaching and learning will be developed along with specific capacity development programs for curriculum designers as well as pre- and in-service teachers. In addition, gender-sensitive guidelines are most needed to ensure that publishers will appropriately develop the materials aligned with the curriculum reform. Finally, the workshop facilitated a space for stakeholders to interact on such issues as well  as to develop an understanding on how to conceptualize and mainstream gender-sensitive STEM education across the curriculum for development –relevant purposes.

The IBE in collaboration with Malaysia, will further support the efforts led by KICD, responding to the specific needs and priorities participants have highlighted. Activities will include a capacity-development workshop for curriculum designers and implementers, the development of research tools, a module on gender-sensitive and competency-based approach to teaching gender-sensitive STEM curricula, and guidelines for instructional materials.