WAAW restates commitment to expose more African girls to STEM
Working to Advance science and technology education for African Women (WAAW), has restated its commitment towards encouraging more girls in African to take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The foundation, determined to increase female participation in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship through trainings and scholarships, believes that more involvement of women in STEM will benefit the continent a great deal.
Project Manager, WAAW foundation scholarship, college fellows and teachers trainings, Lucy Ikpesu Ewhubare, in a chat with The Guardian in Lagos, during the closing ceremony of a five-day “WAAW STEM and ICT Teachers Training,” said their target is to train 10,000 teachers in five years.
She said the realisation that most of the teachings around STEM education in the country are abstract-based prompted them to train teachers and WAAW fellows and give them hands-on experience.
“The foundation is committed to bringing in more African girls in STEM education through scholarships and trainings. This period we are training our fellows and teachers who would go in their various schools and communities and stimulate the interest of young learners in STEM.
“We teach them activities around STEM, we realised that in Nigeria, most schools are into rote learning. Most teachers use this method and expect pupils to cram and pass examination. So we are trying to advance learning using hands-on activities. If you are teaching me electricity show me how a bulb lights up. The participants are from both private and public schools and most of them cannot identify a resistor. But now, we have introduced them to simple materials they can buy in the market that they can use to demonstrate learning to pupils.”
She further stated that though the foundation’s target is to train 10,000 teachers in five years, “so far, we have trained over 700 teachers within two years, we intend to extend the project to other states, but one of the challenges limiting our effort is fund because we don’t have a grant for this programme.”
Also, Programme Officer, Hadassah STEM, one of the partners for the project, Ezekwem Chinelo, said the overall aim is to encourage and provide support for African girls to be able to pick interest in STEM.
“The essence is to train the teachers, when you train teachers, you train the nation. After this training, participants are expected to go back to school and start an after school club for the girls in science and in junior secondary school. We want to get more girls in STEM field that is the future now. In 20 years most of the job will be extinct and new jobs will be in STEM field we are trying to maximise enough opportunity for young girls to fit into the future. STEM is not for males alone,” she said.
A WAAW Fellow and scholar, Joana Opoku, who attended from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, and a teacher from Beehive School, Agidingbi, Lagos, Onwubuya Ifechukwu, affirmed that the training was intense and hands-on, pledging to demonstrate and apply the knowledge to young learners.
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