It was all excitement and enthusiasm as 11years old Taiwo Oloyede, a primary six pupil of Agbado Ijaiye Primary School, was declared winner of the Engr. Felicia Agubata Science Competition and Scholarship for girls in primary schools FASCOS, organized by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN Lagos Chapter under the leadership of Engr. Mary Afolayan.
The day long competition had 20 schools represented within the Ifako/Ijaiye communities including Vetland Primary Sch., Coker Memorial Pry Sch., Wesley Pry sch., New Oko-Oba pry Sch., African church Pry sch., Gbeleyi pry sch., First African church mission sch.1, Karaole pry sch., Fred Williams pry sch., Fred African church mission pry sch. 2, Agabdo-Ijaiye pry sch., Iju station pry sch., Iju Ajuwon community pry sch. and St. Kizito’s Pry sch. 2 and were taken through five subjects including Mathematics, English Language, Quantitative Reasoning, Civil Education and Basic Science.
Oloyede, 11, in a shock expressed happiness after being declared winner of the competition said. “When I was leaving the house for the competition, I promised my mother that I will take the first position. I am determined to remove poverty from the lives of my parent. I will study Engineering and I will take my parents away from poverty.”
Asked how she started, she said, “My journey to school and inter-school competition started two years ago. I am happy for the opportunity given to me. My mum is a trader and my father is a tailor. I feel so excited that I won the competition”, she said.
Speaking about the competition, Engr Nnoli Akpedeye, 13th APWEN President and Chairman Board of Trustee Compos Mentis Foundation, said, APWEN, as a body, is passionate about girls and women especially when it comes to Science, Technology and Mathematics, STEM.
“We are encouraging girls and women in STEM. For those in the profession, we enhance our career to be able to reach the heights. The key is to have role models among ourselves that the young people look up to and also to take deliberate steps to counsel, motivate, encourage and mentor more girls in STEM.
Citing her experience as a female student, she said, “When I finished from the University of Lagos in 1986, we were 80 students in Civil Engineering, there were 75 boys and 5 girls but it is increasing now. We have about 15% and it could be much better. We need gender parity”, she said.
Also speaking, Dr. Felicia Agubata, the immediate past President of APWEN, said, the significance of the STEM competition was to celebrate, motivate and honour children to be the best they can be.
“For me, growing up was not rosy but with the support of family and friends, I was able to get the best education.
“My belief is that, if girls are focused, they will get to their heights. Our children are our leaders tomorrow and they are the ones that can build up the positive energy around themselves and become the best.
“We need to encourage our girls at an early age and this is the best time to lay the foundation. We are giving 690,000 to each child for the whole duration. Two years in primary school and six years in secondary school. We have sponsors that are committed to the course, “she said..
In her contribution, Engr. Mary Afolayan, MNSE, Chairman APWEN Lagos State Chapter, noted that the organization is trying its best to encourage girls from primary school to be attracted to science courses especially engineering,
“We have a role model, Engr. Felicia Agubata, originator of INVENT IT, BUILD IT, and she has given scholarships to more than 81 students across Nigeria.
Other winners were Suliat Azeez, 13 years pupil of Iju Primary School who took the 2nd position and Taiwo Adeyi, a pupil of New Oko-Oba Primary School who took 3rd position in the competition.