Adding FUN to STEM encourages girl child study engineering courses —APWEN, WORLEY

By Ebunoluwa Sessou

Need to make Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics exciting and enjoyable for the girl children in schools so as to be able to become engineers in future was the reason for organizing the two days APWEN FunSTEM in girls only public secondary schools in Lagos.

The programme organsed by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, sponsored by the Worley Foundation, took place at the Girls’ Senior High School, Agege, Lagos and Port Harcourt respectively.

The girls were selected from 12 different schools in Lagos and Port Harcourt. 10 students from each school. The Lagos schools were Girls’ Junior High School, Agege, Government Junior College, Government Comprehensive Junior College, State Junior High School, Alimosho Junior Grammar School, Abesan Junior High School, District Junior College, Agege and Port Harcourt.

With 120 students engaged in the FunSTEM game on how the heart pumps blood, how rain accumulates and learning mathematics, the students now know creative ways of solving STEM subjects with the simplest demonstration using ice block, plate, glass, color, straw, bottle among others.

Speaking on the theme, “Introducing Fun and Excitement into STEM learning” Engr Elizabeth Eterigho, APWEN President, reiterated that Fun is introduced into STEM learning and teaching to encourage the girl children to focus more on the STEM subjects.

“Most of the teachers teach abstractly and so the students are not particularly interested in girls. There is no practical way of teaching the course. Therefore, this program is to make them interested in STEM.

“FunStem is to simplify STEM subjects with fun using the materials around you. We tell our girls that even a tailor must know mathematics because she uses measurements. There is no better way to make them be creative, imaginative so as to be able to comprehend what they are taught without introducing fun to STEM. We demonstrate and then allow them to do it.

“Without demonstration, quoting the law in the classroom will be meaningless. They will only memorise for a while and that is what we want to avoid. When they know it, they practicalise it. We have seven schools in Lagos and five schools in Port Harcourt. And 10 students were taken from each school. A total of 120 students were taken through FunStem.

In a chat with WO, Senior Special Assistant on Education, Lagos State, Adetola Salau, urged that programmes such as FunSTEM should be encouraged in Nigeria to promote skills particularly for the girl children.

According to her, “It is very important for them to gain more confidence and skills in STEM so that they can become solutions to the challenges we encounter in our society.

“We have 50 percent of women in the world and it will be a deserving advantage to see women help us solve most of the challenges in the world. It is a benefit to all of us particularly as mothers are closer to their children and they are the ones who build their mindset.

“It is pertinent for these young ladies to be equipped with this kind of skills so that they can transfer these skills to their children and also help the society become more economically viable.

“We must all work towards ensuring how the society will be successful. Men alone cannot do. We can only do it by working together.

“In Lagos state, STEM is a major platform for us and we have been making efforts across our districts. At Agege, we had ‘Princess STEM Boost camp’ for the students. We targeted three locations, Ifako-Ijaiye, Alimosho and Agege. We did another one in Epe and our next location is in the Makoko area of Yaba and Badagry. We want to make sure that we go through our six districts in Lagos and make sure that the message of STEM is registered in the minds of the young girls.

Meanwhile, Director in Education of District 1, Agege, Titilayo Fadahunsi, commended the organizers for bringing such a program to the school.

Fadahunsi is also the Principal; Girls Junior High School noted that the program is established to instill confidence in the girls who want to study engineering. Adding that, it is geared towards ensuring that they are not scared of engineering courses and not see it as only for boys.

Also, Engr Bose Oyekunle, APWEN South-West Coordinator, Worley Lagos, DeltaAfrik Engineering, a joint venture of Worley Australia and DeltaTech, said, the event was sponsored by Worley Foundation on the SDGs 7 to support quality education which is SDGs 4, one of the initiative of Worley is to support STEM program which encourage interest in STEM in young girls. Adding that, one of the criteria is to showcase it in a rural area especially in public schools.

“This School, Girls High School houses four different schools which are girls only schools in Lagos state which means we have a channel of impacting more girls in this environment.

“I was privileged to graduate from the school in 1995 and I was also the Head Girl of the school and this is one of giving back to the school I graduated from. We need to improve quality education in public schools.

One of the beneficiaries, Elect Irekhoire, 12 years old JSS2, Girls Junior High School, said that FunSTEM is a good program, it teaches students to be innovative, creative.

“ I want to become an Engineer and with this I have the courage and confidence to become an Engineer in the future. There is no girl that will undermine this kind of program because it is very good”, she said. (Vanguard)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here