Redefining Age Limits & Encouraging Practical Learning in Formal Education

In many schools in Ghana, the assignment of pupils into classes is first determined by the age of the pupils. This is usually referred to as the measurement of maturity. Hence, pupils below a certain age will be assigned to a class though their performance may exceed the assigned class because they are not “mature” enough to be in the next class. The effect of decisions such as these is that the affected pupils are not being challenged enough based on their intellectual capacities.

Jeremiah Norvinyo Ekpeh

Jeremiah Norvinyo Ekpeh is a 16 year old Geophysics student of the University of Ghana. At an early age, he was identified for his exceptional performance and skipped two classes in school, in Kebbi State, Nigeria. When Jeremiah was 12 years old, he moved to Ghana and entered Senior High School at St Peter’s Mission School in Ashaley Botwe, Accra. He performed excellently in the West African Senior Secondary School Examination (WASSCE) and gained admission to University of Ghana. At 16years, Jeremiah is entering Level 200.

Being relatively younger than most of his mates in class, Jeremiah has to identify ways of connecting with his peers. However, because he has always been with peers older than him, he has become adept in developing and sustaining relationships with older colleagues.

Academically, he is comfortable and enjoys studying because he is challenged daily to excel and he gladly puts effort into it. In the university, he has met various individuals from different backgrounds who also had to learn new ways of studying and interacting. This has given him a new perspective and helped in developing his social skills.

Jeremiah has always had a love for Science and Mathematics and wants to study planets in the future by being an astronomer. He identifies that it is not an area of keen interest in Ghana or Africa however he has the love and support of his parents. His need to develop and practice good interpersonal skills have made him easily approachable by many friends.

He finds that his mates are able to come to him especially when they have challenges in Science and Mathematics. He also participated in many Science program in the past and this has helped him develop an interest in sharing his knowledge and experience with others.

The Youth Steering Group (YSG) program is an initiative under the GSTEP program that is aimed at facilitating the generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ideas by young people and providing them with skills to achieve social impact and increase engagement and inclusion in Ghana’s STEM education sector. Through the YSG program, Jeremiah has participated in sessions that he believes has helped him present himself better and gain skills to mentor other young people in STEM.

Jeremiah now seeks to support other individuals or organizations who are putting in efforts to encourage STEM education in Ghana. He is particularly interested in people who have a phobia for Science and are willing to overcome it. He believes the YSG program has provided him with hands-on experience on technical skills which have been useful in helping him understand his subject at school.

As part of the YSG program, he is developing a prototype that will be used to collect plastic waste from a river close to his home. With his experience, Jeremiah hopes to help other youth gain more interest in STEM irrespective of their age or other barriers imposed by stereotypes.

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