Obaseki charges parents, teachers on participation of more girls in science

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 …says EDOBEST provides equal opportunity for children to realise their potential

Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has charged parents, teachers, school administrators and community leaders to prioritise the participation of girls in science.

Obaseki gave the charge on Monday in Benin City, in commemoration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, marked on February 11, each year, by the United Nations and its partners.

The governor decried practices in some societies that relegate the girl child in the pursuit of knowledge and explained that girls can contribute as much to development, as their male counterparts, if equally empowered.

“With the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EDOBEST) programme, which my administration initiated, we have provided a level playing field for our male and female children to actualise their God-given potential,” he said.

According to the governor, “the ongoing revamp of 230 primary schools across the state and the conversion of the former Benin Technical College (BTC) to Government Science and Technical College (GSTC) were informed by our realisation of the new offerings of science education in fast-tracking development.”

He added that several trainings have been organised for girls at the Edo Innovation Hub to equip them with hands-on skills to participate in the Information Communication Technology-driven global market.

Obaseki assured that more opportunities will be created for girls by his administration, to enable them take charge of their space and contribute significantly to the nation’s growth and development.

The United Nations said that “Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.”

On the 2019 theme: ‘Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth’ the UN explained that Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It notes that “At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.

“Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 per cent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 per cent).”

The global body further said that “Long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are steering girls and women away from science related fields. As in the real world, the world on screen reflects similar biases — the 2015 Gender Bias Without Borders study by the Geena Davis Institute showed that of the onscreen characters with an identifiable STEM job, only 12 per cent were women.

“In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.”