By Sylvester Thompson
The Federal Government has approved the introduction of a new programme- FunSTEM in public schools to enhance the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Dr Elizabeth Eterigho, President, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria(APWEN) said this when she spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the closing of the 2022 APWEN national conference and AGM on Friday in Abuja.
Eterigho said that the gesture would help improve the teaching and learning of STEM especially for the girl child in Nigeria.
She said that the girl child deserved access to quality education that would equip and prepare her for the challenges of the future.
She said to give the girl child opportunities to learn, achieve and excel in science, technology and in engineering solutions, there was need to incorporate fun and excitement into STEM learning
Eterigho said that such education would properly equip and make her ready to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“It is observed that STEM teaching in public schools, particularly in upper primary and junior secondary school has not been effective.
“For many children, just being at school does not mean they are learning, which implies that children are not developing the skills they need to successfully transit to become fulfilled in life,” she said.
She said the fun and excitement of FunSTEM was all about teaching with practical and demonstrative gender-responsive STEM learning in order to raise the curiosity and interest of the students.
“This would lead to taking up careers in STEM, specifically in engineering, particularly in public schools.
“The aim of the FunSTEM is to harness `free hands-on activities’ model in teaching STEM to raise the inquisitiveness of the students,” she said.
She said this would also make it possible for the girls to easily understand the relevancy of STEM in infrastructure and economic development of the nation.
Eterigho said that the first edition was a two-day event held in Lagos and Port Harcourt simultaneously, that prior to the event teachers were trained on how to effectively teach STEM with excitement.
She said that the teachers were trained on how to impart this excitement to junior and secondary school students using recycle materials.
The APWEN President said that over 30 teachers and 126 students participated from five schools in Port Harcourt and seven schools in Lagos, and that science kits were donated to the schools laboratories.
“The FunSTEM is sponsored by Worley Foundation, the CSR initiative of Worley Energy, Chemicals and Resources, Australia,” she said.
She said another programme introduced in 2022 was the “Tech4Mum’’ initiative, which sought to promote development of new technologies that increasingly empower female users, especially in the rural areas for enhanced productivity.
Dr Felicia Agubata, former APWEN president and Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, said that to facilitate government efforts in energy
transition, the association would act as an advocate.
“Government has a committee on energy transition, we are going to lend our voice in advocacy to explain to the people what it is and also encourage people to feel free about the transition,” she said.
She said the association would fund and also find sponsors for the research projects of young engineering students who were willing to break new grounds of achievements.(NAN)