By Funmi Ogundare
Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN), yesterday, trained a total of 60 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers drawn from the association. It was designed to build their capacity to impact mothers and encourage girls to embrace STEM subjects.
The train-the trainers capacity workshop, held in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, saw teachers drawn from the six geopolitical zones in the country being trained. They will have opportunity to train about 200 others in the country to enable girls embrace the engineering profession.
Speaking during the virtual APWEN SheEngineer STEM teachers training for engineers, the President, Mrs. Funmilola Ojelade expressed concern that the female students seem to dislike STEM subjects, adding that through its Boot Camp over the years, it had encouraged them to embrace the subjects.
“It is our focus to train STEM teachers. They will return to their localities to train other teachers.”
She congratulated the teachers who have been trained while appealing to them to make a difference in their chosen profession.
In her remarks, the Project Director and Grant awardee, SheEngineer Invent It, Build It Programme under GCRF Africa catalyst project phase three, Dr. Felicia Agubata said the capacity building workshop was first of its kind, adding that the association was out to bridge the gender gap in the engineering profession.
According to her, ” Engineering seems to be a male dominated profession in Nigeria according to a research carried out in 2019. Our aim is to encourage girls to enter and stay in STEM careers throughout this project.”
She reeled out the achievements of some female engineers in the country who are and still making impacts in the field of Engineering.
“The sky is actually the starting point for female engineers in Nigeria and globally. We are planning to introduce a policy for women to continue to build capacity for teachers and create ways to promote awareness as well as dispel stereotypes that the profession is for the male folks,” she stressed, adding that the task of nation building requires the selflessness of all.
The Facilitator, Dr. Evi Viza who is also a Program Leader, Quality and Project Management, University of the West Scotland, expressed concern about the gender gap in the profession saying that the female folks are smarter than their male counterpart.
“Sometimes, it is their lack of confidence that keep girls down, ” she said.
She described engineering as a scientific field and job that involves taking our scientific understanding of the natural world. “Science and Engineering is everywhere.”
She stressed the importance of STEM Education and engagement saying that it goes a long way to create critical thinkers, increases science literacy and enables the next generation of innovators.
“It is about how we work as a team, ” she said.