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Monday, October 2, 2023

A New chapter in Girls STEM Education Advocacy as APWEN, NNPC Commission Science and Technology Laboratory


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On April 2nd, 2022, various dignitaries cross the country converged on Buachi. Their mission was to commission two projects donated by the NNPC and APWEN in a highly successful collaboration, Science and technology Laboratory and a motorised borehole, Isqil Najim Writes.

Misau, also spelled Missau, or Messau, town and traditional emirate, northern Bauchi state, northern Nigeria, 5 miles (8 km) northwest of the Misau River, the upper stretch of the Komadugu Gan played host to the eminent personalities from all walk of life as it hosts the two projects.

The Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN), in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has constructed and unveiled a multimillion-naira well-equipped science and technology laboratory with a motorised borehole. It was a new dawn in girls in STEM advocacy across the country.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the GMD/CEO, NNPC, Mele Kyari, who was represented Chief Innovation Officer, NNPC, Engr Betty Ugona said the Invent it Build It programme was targeted at primary school girls aged eight to10 to promote the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as girl-child education.

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He added that in living up to its corporate social responsibility, the NNPC responded to the call. He recalled that the series of events, organised across the country’s six geopolitical zones, led to the establishment of science and laboratory centres in selected schools.

Kyari disclosed that the maiden edition of the flagship programme- ‘Invent It, Build It’, sponsored by NNPC, which has touched the lives of Nigerians in many positive ways, was launched at Sarki Ahmadu Primary School, Misau, Bauchi, on April 21, 2018.
He said a foundation was laid for constructing an ultra-modern science and technology laboratory at Sarki Ahmadu Primary School, also sponsored by NNPC.

“It is important and heartwarming to remark that the laboratory was named after the illustrious son of Misau, the immediate past Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Makainti Baru, who was also an alumnus of this school.”

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“We believe that the utilization of this laboratory will produce tangible outcomes that will shape the career choices and positive impact of our children,” he explained.

“We make bold to state that the construction and equipping of the Science and Technology Laboratory will encourage not just the young girls, but also the boys, to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM), and hence make them Economic Drivers and Problem Solvers in our dear Nation, Nigeria”, he stressed.

The NNPC GMD added that the APWEN has indeed shown itself as a ‘force for good’ and as an effective platform for co-operation and for promoting development. We believe that the utilization of this laboratory will produce tangible outcomes that will shape the career choices and positive impact of our children.

“As a company, we are poised to continue empower women and girls in the front lines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. As a collective people, it is also imperative that we continue to extend a hand of support to each other even as we come together, in one voice and as a credible bloc, to continue to build”, he added.

On his part, the Emir of Misau in Bauchi state, Alh Ahmed Suleiman commended the management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for collaborating with Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN) to construct a multimillion Naira equipped Science and Technology Laboratory and a motorized borehole at the Sarki Ahmadu Central Primary School in Misau.

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Ahmed Suleiman expressed confidence that the development will promote science and technology education in the area particularly among the girls whose education has been on the decline over the years. He then promised that the structure will be maintained by people of the Emirate through communal efforts because according to him, the structure is for the good of the people.

A motorised borehole was also launched as part of efforts to make to make learning environment conducive.

In her welcome address, the President of APWEN, Dr. Elizabeth Eterigho, said scholarships were awarded to 21 best pupils from 10 primary schools in Misau after conducting hands-on experiments with everyday materials. She recalled the other efforts the Associations have been conducting in a bid to ensure it not only attract s more girls to engineeirng but also retain those who have studied science.

APWEN and NNPC collaboration is one of the largest and most ambitious attempts to encourage more girls across the Country to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It was established to laid solid background for girls in practical science while also ensuring poor girls who are capable are given scholarship to advance their study.

In the course of the programmes,  series of events, organized across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. There was also establishment of Science and Laboratory centers in selected schools.

In addition to the above, the Association also extended its hands to Science teachers through special programmes designed to equip them with them up to date science knowledge and teaching practices.

Previously, STEM career promotion has been built around scholarships, and educating girl child on importance of Science and technology education. This time, the Association is going deeper by providing infrastructures such as Science Laboratory to aid the schools ability to conduct STEM based real time teaching and aid the students familiarization with Science from early age.

From Engr Dr Agubata who initiated the “Invent It Build It” project, to Engr Funmilola Ojelade who sustained it and now Dr Elizabeth Eterigho, taking it further, it s indeed, heartwarming to state that a new chapter in the advocacy to take girls child into STEM career has opened.

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