By Abubakar Yunusa
The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) has affirmed its commitment to dispelling STEM stereotypes through community projects, fostering interest and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) among girls to encourage careers in engineering.
Engr. Elizabeth Jumoke Eterigho, the association’s president, conveyed this message during the FunSTEM event themed “Introducing Excitement into STEM Learning,” sponsored by Worley in Abuja yesterday.
Explaining the rationale behind FunSTEM, she remarked, “Rural communities grapple with a learning and skills crisis, leaving girls ill-prepared for critical knowledge needed to partake in emerging opportunities, particularly in engineering.”
“To empower the next generation of girls in rural areas for these careers, their education must instill both interest and proficiency in STEM from a young age,” she emphasized.
FunSTEM serves as an introduction to STEM fundamentals, framing learning as an enjoyable experience for girls in junior public schools in vulnerable Nigerian communities.
Eterigho noted, “This initiative aims to achieve gender representation equality in STEM and bridge economic disparities between urban and rural areas, equipping students with knowledge, confidence, and creativity.”
“Therefore, it is crucial to elevate students in public schools to the same level as their private school counterparts in terms of STEM education, emphasizing hands-on teaching and learning of STEM activities.”
Regarding APWEN FunSTEM, she emphasized its goal to provide all girls with opportunities to learn, achieve, and excel in science, technology, and engineering solutions.
“Incorporating a fun and practical, gender-responsive approach into STEM learning aims to arouse students’ curiosity, leading them to pursue STEM careers, especially in engineering, particularly in public (government) schools,” she added.
The mission will adopt a “free hands-on activities” model to teach STEM, fostering students’ inquisitiveness and understanding of STEM’s relevance in national infrastructural and economic development.
Engr. Adedoyi Talabi, the Project Manager at Delta Afrik, stated, “Most women excel in societal roles, especially in STEM, when it is made enjoyable. We are here to advocate that STEM can be simpler and more enjoyable.”
Speaking to journalists, JSS PW Kubwa student Idris Rabiu Fadeelah shared, “My experience today changed my perception of science. I used to find it difficult and preferred studying Art, but now I realize science can be easier and more interesting. I aspire to become a successful scientist.”