, APWEN restates commitment to supporting girls in STEM -

APWEN restates commitment to supporting girls in STEM

The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) has reiterated its commitment to providing girls interested in the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) fields with the necessary support, mentorship and resources needed to achieve their dreams.

This was made known by the APWEN President, Engr. Dr. Adebisi R. Osim at the “STEM for All” program , in collaboration with STEAM Up Kwara which was held at the NSE Ilorin Branch Engineering Centre yesterday.

The program started on the 27th of May with visits to the Emir of Ilorin, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, stakeholders with media appearances and the grand finale was done today with high ranking government officials, students and stakeholders in attendance .

According to the Engr. Osim, “the theme of our gathering today, “The Girl Child and Advancement in STEM”, is a poignant reminder of the critical need to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and provide our girls with the support and encouragement they need to pursue their passions in STEM.

“We are here to champion diversity, inclusion, and gender equality in these vital sectors that will drive our nation forward.

Talking on the importance of STEM education for girls, she added that “STEM skills are critical for success in the 21st century economy and are key drivers of innovation, productivity and competitiveness.
However, women and girls are significantly underrepresented in STEM fields.

“According to UNESCO, only 30% of STEM students in higher education globally are women. We must change this narrative and empower our girls to pursue STEM subjects and careers.
As Michelle Obama said, “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

“We have also established STEM clubs in schools to provide a supportive community for girls interested in STEM.
APWEN, in partnership with the Kwara State Government and STEAMUP Kwara, is dedicated to empowering and inspiring the next generation of female leaders in STEM,” she added.

The APWEN President appreciated the Executive Governor of Kwara State for his support and commended his achievements in the education sector and girl-child empowerment in the State.

The First Lady of Kwara State, Amb. Prof. Olufolake Abdulrazaq in her remarks commended APWEN Ilorin Chapter for the laudable initiative and noted that students in the arts class should also be encouraged and supported in achieving their dreams, noting that STEAM also contains “Arts”.

She said this will help them in solving the problems of their communities , while noting that the government of Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is leaving no stone unturned in its aim of improving learning outcomes in the State education sector.

The First Lady, called for the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and while restating her commitment to supporting the growth and development of the girl-child also called for the active participation of boys and girls, and she added that “the boy child should be seen as a partner in achieving an equal and sustainable world.”

Earlier, the Chairman of APWEN, Ilorin Chapter, Engr. Nihinlolawa Olawuyi, appreciated the attendees and stated that it is necessary to support and encourage girls to go for STEM courses, while noting the importance of more advocacy and sensitization.

On his part, The Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Taiwo Olashehu FNSE, who was represented by Engr. Ali Bawa MNSE, urged the students to develop their passion for STEM, adding that there are several opportunities available for them.

The Special Adviser on Education, Dr. Adetola Salau on her part noted that girls should be encouraged in the STEM field and added that it is important for the teachers to be trained too while appreciating the First Lady for her interest in STEAM UP Kwara.

The Emir of Ilorin, HRH Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, who was ably represented by the Magaji Muse of Ilorin and former M.D. Lower Niger River Basin, Engr. Abubakar Tonile Aduragba, appreciated APWEN and added that STEM education is important and that boys and girls and boys should get all the support needed to excel.

The event witnessed a STEM school competition held among the selected schools.

Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin clinched the first position, followed by Lower Niger River Basin Staff College, Ilorin with the second position and keenly followed by Government Model Girls’ Secondary School, NNPC, Oke-Oyi with the third position.

An interesting and educative panel session was led by the APWEN National Technical Secretary, Engr. (Dr.) Tolulope Erinosho and the brilliant discussants spoke on the importance of encouraging girls to venture into STEM, the need for more support, encouraging female entrepreneurship among other vital issues.

Also, the Zonal Co-ordinator for APWEN South-West Zone, Engr. (Prof.) Tawakalitu Onifade, expressed her enthusiasm for the advancement of STEM skills and urged the students to be resilient and to put more efforts into their studies so as to become relevant in the ever-dynamic world of STEM.

Other highlights were the official launching of STEAM Up Kwara by the First Lady, Amb. Prof. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, presentation of certificates to the Governor and the First Lady, presentation of certificates and gifts to the students.

Present at the event were the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Segun Ogunshola, Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Hon. Alabi Afeez Abolore, role models in the STEM field and students from selected Secondary schools in Ilorin.

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