Working to Advance STEM Education for African Girls (WAAW) an NGO, on Monday started training of 45 teachers on effective teaching methods on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Abuja.
Miss Loveth Ubi, Business Development Manager of WAAW said that the teachers being trained were selected from schools across the country.
Ubi said that five-day training was expected to give the teachers hands on curriculum on STEM education and how to include critical activity into their classrooms exercise.
“It is all about engaging the students with STEM activity in an enjoyable way thereby making the students more relaxed and tuned to the subjects they are taught.
“The ones that did exceptionally well at the end of the programme will be given some STEM kits to go back with which is donated by WAAW Foundation.’’
Ubi said that the expectation of the organisation was that the trained teachers would collaborate with the organisation to form a synergy that would enhance the teaching of STEM across the country.
Miss Sefunmi Obayan, the Programme Support Associate of WAAW said that from research conducted, it was discovered that women were very few in STEM field, hence the need for women involvement in science subjects.
She said that the organisation was presently in 17 African countries, adding that in many African countries women were scared of going into science and engineering fields.
“Some are even discriminated against from offering these courses just because they are women.
“Presently, we are having our teachers training programme for STEM teachers not only for female teachers because we have discovered that we cannot cure inequality with inequality.
“ So, are bringing even men into the programme to impact them as well. But what we do is to impact them with gender responsive curriculum.
“This is so that when they go back to their schools they train the students in a way that will actually make the students to be interested in the subjects rather than scaring them away from these courses.
“Another thing is that these teachers to go back and impact their students with hands on STEM methodology, we don’t want them to be limited to textbooks but to do practical things in the classes.
“In other words, make the classes more interactive and get their students engaged because we understand that even though the courses are technical, they can be taught in very interesting and easily understandable ways,’’ Obayan said.
Speaking on the impact of the training on the economy, she said that it could initiate innovations among students.
“If all the teachers go and impact students in their schools, these students will become engineers, computer entrepreneurs, scientists and you can understand what this can do to our economy, eventually Nigeria will become a producer nation rather than consumer that we are known to be.’’
One of the teachers, Mrs Ama Ifesinachi of Nnodo Secondary School, Abakaliki said that she was grateful for the training and called on the government to encourage the organisers by funding such activities, especially for government schools.
WAAW Foundation was established in 2007 by Dr Uloma Okoroafor to train, mentor and inspire secondary girls to explore STEM careers.
Some of the foundation’s programmes to promote STEM education in girls include Robotic and Renewable energy summer camps to attract girls to STEM field at an early age.
STEM Cell Outreach programme to place college students in secondary schools to act as role models, content experts and mentors to demonstrate STEM in practical ways and ultimately increase the pipeline of African youths entering STEM careers.