By Nnamdi Odumody
STEM education is an important part of a well-rounded education for students. It is an education that provides access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics through the fundamental building blocks taught at pre-tertiary educational levels. STEM aids students in imbibing a passion for inquiry and discovery and fosters skills such as persistence, teamwork and the execution of using acquired knowledge to new situations. The growth mindsets and habits that inculcate one’s ability for academic resolve, and lifelong learning in a dynamic global marketplace, are built on a robust STEM education.
In Nigeria, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is generally seen as courses for the men while the women are encouraged by their parents to pursue careers in the liberal arts. Nonetheless, women like Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Carly Fiorina former CEO HP, Margaret Whitman former CEO of Hewlett Packard, Cher Wang, the Cofounder of HTC, amongst others, have recorded huge achievements in technology.
Adetola Salau is the Founder and Director of Carisma 4U Educational Foundation, a social innovation enterprise focused on redesigning the educational system for innovation. She is a global educator and author of more than eight books, including one – “Re-engineering Our Minds For Innovation’’- which has been critically acclaimed as a roadmap for transformation of our educational system. She is driven by a desire to help African students become future-ready, and innovators, for their own economic prosperity through quality STEM education.
Cynthia Adaeze Bryte Chinule, a First Class graduate of Mathematics from Nnamdi Azikiwe University is the founder of Productive Education and Effective Leadership (PEEL) initiative, a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower and provide quality education to develop leadership potentials, and to meet the human needs of youths around the world. She teaches underprivileged and dropout kids Mathematics in Igbo language and pidgin to help them develop capacities in the subject. PEEL operates in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Cynthia believes local languages have a great role to play in teaching STEM subjects in Nigeria as it will make it easier for kids to understand. Through her PEEL initiative, she aims to accomplish the following:
- Reduce the rate of failure in Mathematics in Africa to zero
- Empower less privileged students and at risk youths, by providing scholarship and advocating for youths, to learn relevant skills. These skills include technical and vocational skills for employment.
- Support paths to decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
- She also aims to provide infrastructural support for dilapidated schools, foster capacity building in school teachers, promote STEM education and other SDGs for quality education.
Uchenna Onwuamaegbu-Ugwu is the Founder of Edufun Technik, an Onitsha based outfit which engages in training secondary school students, especially girls in STEM skills for them to develop careers for the future. She has been mentoring young secondary students that have participated in the World Technovation Challenge. These students include the Anambra girls who emerged winners in the 2018 edition for developing a FD Detector, an application for combating fake drugs, a menace in the Nigerian healthcare sector.
Njideka Harry is the founder of Youth for Technology Foundation which is equipping young Nigerians with skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Those skills 3D Printing. Through her 3D Africa Initiative, she runs educational and training programs that teach 3D printing and how to build a business around it.
On this occasion of the International Women’s Day, we celebrate these Amazons who are contributing immensely to building the future of Nigeria with the development of STEM education towards the economic transformation of the nation.
NB: I certainly missed other women, you are free to note them in the comment section. Thanks