STEM: UNESCO, IAGIFTED Empowering Brilliant Female Students 


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in collaboration with IAGIFTED, has agreed to empower brilliant female students who are drawn from various public and private secondary schools across the country in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The programme with the theme: ‘#Girlscrackthecode, which commenced on December 2, at the University of Lagos, Akoka, saw the girls being trained in mental maths, ICT, the science Olympiad, as well as tutorials in competence, confidence and courage, among others.

The founder of the IGIFTED, Professor Adewale Solarin told journalists at the ceremony that the essence was to get the girls interested in the physical sciences, adding that girls seem to be more interested in offering courses like pharmacy or medicine.

“The girls are dominating in the area of biological sciences, but we need them more in the physical sciences. I try to make them understand that girls are caregivers compared to their male counterpart, but the process of giving care involves a lot of physical sciences.  If girls are not involved, the softness that is involved in caregiving will not be reflected in the equipment they will be handling in the nearest future.”

The Professor of Algebra expressed concern that girls didn’t have the strength to compete with their male counterpart in STEM, saying that it is the reason why they are trying to address the competence, courage and confidence issue in them.

He argued that, “In terms of competence, it’s 50:50, the girls have the knowledge, but we still want to build their competence and courage to compete.

“If you look at it, girls don’t have the strength to compete even if they have the courage. It’s a global issue and that is why UNESCO is doing the #girlcrackthecode. We hope that we will be able to get as many of them to have the confidence.”

Emphasising on other activities that they will be involved in, Solarin who is the former Director General of National Mathematical Centre said, “There are four sections in the activities that they will be doing.

“We have the mental maths programme that is designed to ensure their fast thinking and tasking their brains, that we will also be addressing the fact that they need to be courageous and confidence and general talk about their personality such that the word impossibility will be out of their dictionary.

“We are going to divide them into groups and they will be competing among themselves. We also are developing them for the Maths Olympiad, which is deeper than the normal curriculum. We have the UNESCO micro science kits, we have the ICT, which will include all the software they need to know, coding and apps that they will also need to learn.

“One word that will be out of their dictionary is the word impossible. They will be ready to take challenges and be involved in creative thinking ahead of the industrial revolution.”

Some of the female students, who expressed excitement about the training, said it would improve their proficiency in the area of STEM and be a better person that would impact their immediate environment.

The programme, which will climax on December 20, will witness the presentation of medals to winning teams and individuals for a competition that they will be participating in.

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