22 Jun 2018

ENGAGING AND SUPPORTING WOMEN AND GIRLS IN STEM EDUCATION

Educationist all over the world have been struggling to cope with the challenges posed by the changes in teaching approaches and methods aimed at optimal attainment of teaching and learning objectives. The struggle seems to be more in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) also Science related fields. As new method evolved on daily bases in response to the new concepts and technologies been introduce in new curricular in different countries all over the world.

Some people would say: “mathematics is only the knowledge of numbers”. Such kind of saying is not correct, because of mathematics studies not only the number but also the shape. The well-known triangle and square are the objects which mathematics studies too, which are related to Science, Technology, and Engineering. According to Great revolutionary Mentor Engels points out that mathematics is the science of quantity and the object of pure mathematics which is the spatial format and numerical relationship of the real world. On the basis of the viewpoints of Engels, the more exact definition about mathematics is the science of studying the numerical relationship and spatial format of the real world which is linked with science technology and engineering.

The shortage of skilled workers and students in the STEM is only half of the story. More alarming is the shortage of female skilled workers and students in STEM. Stats vary by country and by discipline but generally speaking, women make up only 15-25% of the current STEM workforce, and the gap is broadening.

Does it really matter?

  • Well, firstly there’s no evidence that girls are less capable in these fields, but rather that they often ‘feel’ less capable, partly due to stereotyping.
  • Then there’s the tendency for STEM jobs to be higher paid, meaning that the lack of women in these roles is contributing to gender salary gap.
  • A lack of women in these fields means fewer female role models, both for current female STEM employees and for girls still forming career choices.
  • And what about the whole growth of STEM jobs in the future thing, which is expected to skyrocket…
  • Another compelling argument is that STEM careers are truly “helping” professions that build communities and transform nations. These professionals are in charge of solving the complex problems of today’s world and its future. They are working to find solutions for global warming, cancer, third world hunger, disappearing habitats, and an interdependent world economy. STEM careers are both challenging and fun; people in them enjoy going to work every day.
  • Because STEM is so important for our children, our region, and our country, we need to encourage the students. Currently in our educational systems, as well as future generations of students, to understand and embrace the Technology that affects them every day of their lives. Students should be advised on the merits of taking as many maths and science courses in middle and high school as possible. And these courses need to be taught by engaged and enthusiastic teachers using hands-on and minds-on activities. Making science and maths courses fun and interesting will not only help students to learn but might also plant the “seed of interest” that could grow into an exciting and rewarding STEM career.
  • Education, according to the United Nations resolution, is the inalienable right of every child irrespective of sex. In Nigeria’s policy on education, education is the right of every citizen as well as the instrument par excellence for development. I believe other countries of African definitely have similar statements in their educational policies. Despite this policy statement, evidence abounds that women and girls are educationally disadvantaged. Research works have revealed that females enrollments at primary, secondary and tertiary levels are very low (FAWE, n.d; Azikiwe, 1994a and 1996;  Ezeani, 1995.)
  • The value of educating girls and women are far-reaching, but unfortunately, a greater percentage of the female sex is deliberately or otherwise denied access to education. Grant (1992) as recorded by UNICEF (1993) emphatically states that in the developing world today, which includes Nigeria, more boys become literate than girls. Grant added that employment, legal and social security rights and even civil and political liberties are all likely to defend on the cruel chromosome distinguishing human male from human female. In other words, this discrimination against the female sex is laid squarely at the doorstep of gender.

Sources:

Wikipedia (2010); “Teaching of Mathematics, the free Encyclopedia”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/national

w.w.w.whitehouse.gov/ostp/women June 2013 page 1 of 4.

Shuaibu, G.A. (2012). Study of students’ learning difficulties in mathematics in Kano

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