Girls deserve access to quality education- Women group

For many children, just being at school does not mean they are learning, which implies that children are not developing the skills they need to successfully transit to become fulfilled in life

The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria(APWEN) says girls deserve to access quality education that equips and prepares them for the future jobs.

Dr Elizabeth Eterigho, President of APWEN, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the closing of the four-day 2022 APWEN national conference and AGM on Friday in Abuja.

She said such education would properly equip and make them ready  to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

She said to give all girls opportunities to learn, achieve and excel in science, technology and in engineering solutions, there was need to incorporate fun and excitement into STEM learning

According to her, as a result of this, a programme called FunSTEM was introduced into public schools to stimulate and enhance  the learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics(STEM).

“It is observed that STEM teaching in public schools, particularly in upper primary and junior secondary school has not been effective.

“For many children, just being at school does not mean they are learning, which implies that children are not developing the skills they need to successfully transit to become fulfilled in life.

She said the fun and excitement of FunSTEM was all about teaching with practical and demonstrative gender-responsive STEM learning in order to raise the curiosity and interest of the students.

“This would lead to taking up careers in STEM, specifically in engineering, particularly in public schools.

“The aim of the FunSTEM is to harness `free hands-on activities’ model in teaching STEM to raise the inquisitiveness of the students.’’

She said this would also make it possible for them to easily understand the relevancy of STEM in infrastructural and economic development of the nation.

Eterigho explained that the first edition was a two-day event held in Lagos and Port Harcourt simultaneously, adding that prior to the event teachers were trained on how to effectively teach STEM with excitement.

She maintained that the teachers were trained on how to impart this excitement to junior and secondary school students using recycle materials.

The APWEN President said that over 30 teachers and 120 students participated from five schools in Port Harcourt and seven schools in Lagos, and that science kits were donated to the schools laboratories.

“The FunSTEM is sponsored by Worley Foundation, the CSR initiative of Worley Energy, Chemicals and Resources, Australia.

She said that another programme introduced in 2022 was the “Tech4Mum’’ initiative, which seeks to promote development of new technologies that increasingly empower female users, especially in the rural areas for enhanced productivity.

Dr Felicia Agubata, former APWEN president and Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, said that to facilitate government efforts in energy transition, the association would act as an advocate.

“Government has a committee on energy transition, we are going to lend our voice in advocacy to explain to the people what it is and also encourage people to feel free about the transition.

She said the association would fund and also find sponsors for the research projects of young engineering students who are willing to break new grounds of achievements.

She emphasised that the association would fund such projects to ensure that Nigeria transits seamlessly during the process of energy transition.

Agubata said the conference offered an opportunity for them to come together and deliberate on burning issues affecting the country.

“Also, a time to appraise ourselves for the past one year, our records and how far and well we  are doing as an association.”

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