APWEN stresses need for capacity building on STEM among girls

By Ebunoluwa Sessou

Joining over 150 countries in commemoration of the 12th International Day for Girls in Information Communication and Technology, ICT, the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN, has tasked all stakeholders’ sustainable solutions and innovative ideas for lowering barriers to accessing a reliable internet and digital tools for young girls and women worldwide.

The International day for Girls in ICT was established by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) with the aim to raise awareness, train, teach and promote young women professional development in the information communications and technology sector (ICT).

In a statement signed by the President of APWEN, Engr. Elizabeth Eterigho FNSE FNChEstated that more work is needed in sensitizing the girls on the strong benefits of exploring and navigating the digital world. Adding that, APWEN as an organization has different programs on ICT for girls such as Tech4Girls and computer training in collaboration with CISCO and these have made significant strides in encouraging and engaging women and young girls in science.

According to her, there is need for both government and private sectors to put in place policies and programs to encourage girls explore opportunities in ICT, make specific reference to gender equality and empowerment of women at the national policy for ICT education.
“There is need to develop ICT literacy programs, the internet and ICT certifications strictly for girls and women. There is also a need to impact the young girls with sustainable digital skills that can help the community in bridging the ICT skills gap and produce technology entrepreneurs through using ICT solution to develop business plans and mobile application to solve community problems.

“The theme of this year’s ICT day, “Access and Safety” #GirlsinICT Day 2022, calls for proper sensitization and encouragement of girls in ICT to make use of the available digital tools that allow them to be independent and able to solve challenges for both local and global development.

“If girls are the future, because they have the tendency to read, study and assimilate faster than their counterpart, then, we must invest in them and in their development so that they can improve both their lives and the living conditions of the community in which they live and the society generally.

“It is not only getting involved in the social media information but exploring the digital benefits to achieve your desire goals. The digital future depends on the 21st century skills which are strongly based on the use of ICT. Statistics revealed that Africa in the last decade are experiencing growth rate of over 20% on a yearly base on the use of internet.

“Talking to our girls, you have to face the reality to participate in the modern society where more and more computer supported services through internet and ICT networks are encouraged.

“Girls and young women who learn coding, apps development and computer science will not only be well-placed for a successful career in the ICT sector, but will also be opened to greater opportunities because ICT technical know-how are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue.

“The strategic importance of ICT and Internet are skill drivers for change in all we do which made it a top priority to raise awareness of the young generation of beautiful, elegant and bold girls on the need to develop interest in ICT at early age and focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses as they represent the present and the future of the world at large.

“In this increasingly digital age, girls and women must be able to see technology and innovation as achievable and viable career paths. The integration of ICT in everyday life, enhancing and transforming the way we do business, learn, interact and stay informed is becoming all the more important, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19”, she said.

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