IREX 2016 World Smarts Competition Featuring Ghana and USA Teachers

Young participants at an IREX event

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — IREX 2016 is excited to announce the selection of 32 schools and 36 teachers and their students from the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, Maryland in the USA respectively, and several cities in Ghana to participate in the inaugural IREX World Smarts STEM Challenge, an initiative that pairs high schools in the United States (US) and Ghana in a competition for the best STEM solution to pressing global problems.

The 2016 challenge topics address hazardous waste and pollution and energy use. This inaugural challenge is being made possible by a generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


The purpose of the World Smarts STEM Challenge is to develop and increase the number of secondary school students who go on to successfully major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in higher education in the US and Ghana while at the same time building their skills in innovation and global collaboration and understanding.

According to IREX Executive Vice President for Global Programs Joyce Warner, “There’s a real need and opportunity for young people to pursue STEM careers. This competition is intended to ignite passion for STEM subjects. It’s unique in that it fuses standards-aligned, applied learning for both countries with the opportunity for students to work alongside their peers on the other side of the world to tackle global issues affecting us all.”

The challenge launched with an in-person training program for 30 of the participating teachers August 7-10 in Accra, Ghana. During the training, teachers learned how to use the Challenge’s standards-aligned, 10-week curriculum; explored IREX’s online team collaboration platform; and met their international partners. Please see the following pages for the complete list of schools and teachers participating.

The teachers are currently recruiting their student team members for the 2016 challenge, which formally launches in September 2016. Semi-finalist teams will compete in the World Smarts STEM Challenge Contest and Showcase in Washington, DC in early 2017. The winning team will receive a challenge grant and the chance to make their idea become a reality.

IREX is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to building a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions, and extending access to quality education and information. www.irex.org


Below are the teams participating in the World Smarts STEM Challenge. Teams are organized by challenge topic.

2016 IREX

2016 World Smarts STEM Challenge teams

Source: IREX

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