By Ebunoluwa Sessou
As part of efforts to further encourage girl children to study STEM, Women in Energy Network, WIEN, flagged up Bille Supernova Girl Scholarship programme and Science Fair initiative to mobilize, inspire and guide the girl children to take special interest in courses of study that will prepare them for great roles in the rapidly changing world.
Supernova Girl initiative targets early grooming of girls in primary schools, junior and senior secondary schools into taking careers in science and technology related disciplines.
The fair is conceived to provide grand inspiration programme for girl children with keen interests in studying mathematics and science subjects.
WIEN president, Funmi Ogbue reiterated that, the world is on a highway towards urbanization, digitization and automation. Adding that, lives will irreversibly follow patterns that would be determined, facilitated and controlled by science and technology.
“Our traditional and cultural lifestyles are falling behind, permanently displaced by innovation; and our roles are fast changing in a manner that dismantles gender borders. Therefore our children, especially our daughters must be prepared for a world that is waiting for them: their intellect, skills and talents.
“The overreaching objective of the program is to ignite passion in young girls and to showcase the socio-economic value and application of STEM in our everyday life.
“The Bille Supernova initiative is not just encouraging the education of girls in the country, especially in the rural areas, it is also deliberately focused on early exposure of female pupils to science education with the intentions of sparking the thrill and zeal for innovative thinking.
“The goal is to stimulate our children’s innate capacity and inclination to desire science education as part of our overall plan to accelerate the movement towards full optimization of the female talents in the country.
“The capacity of the educated woman is of strategic social and economic importance to any country.
“Our observation has shown that the female population of any country forms the bedrock of sustainability; and countries of the world with significant number of well educated women in strategic positions are the fast developing ones.
“All forms of education are important and every subject taught in our schools is critical in closing knowledge gaps.
“We are comfortable that the curriculums that guide primary and secondary school instructions are robustly developed and well implemented”, she said.
Ogbue however lamented that the poor percentage of female students pursuing science and technical studies is alarming.
“The situation is clearer in our tertiary institutions where the population of female students in science, engineering and technical courses is traditionally lower than that of their male counterparts.
“The domination of science, technical and engineering courses by the male students directly translates into real industry labour sitution.
“Today, energy, manufacturing, construction, mining, and other industries that demand skilled professionals are dominated by men; creating enclaves lack the rare qualities associated with the female gender.
“The situation has also morphed into huge gender imbalance and workplace bias that tend to further limits growth of qualified women into industry leadership positions.
“At WIEN, we believe that addressing these problems should begin with the quality of education the girl child receives from the cradle. Preparation for the career future of any person starts from primary through secondary and tertiary education”, she added.
Ogbue however called on all stakeholders including traditional leaders, political leaders and spiritual fathers and all people of influence in the society in reshaping and modifying the traditional practices in a manner that would preserve the values and also unlock the full potentials of the girl child.
“Our interactive sensitization session with parents, guardians and teachers today is also designed to inspire positive attitude and support for our females to live out their full potentials.
“WIEN’s role is to mentor, point the way forward and partner with the future champions to midwife their careers by way of providing learning aids, seminars, scholarships at some points and, above all, inspiration.
“The scholarships, dressings, books and other instructional materials are the ways WIEN intends to stoke the fire of excellence in our girls in STEM education and motivate them to become great professionals.
“Fifteen students selected through written exams and science experiment across the three cadres will receive their scholarship today. We also come with school uniforms, school sandals, bags, and text books for some 467 students in Bille community.
“The petroleum industry where we play demands robust knowledge, skills and technological capacity. Earning STEM education at early stage is the only way to prepare our children to prepare and present local and community capacity to the industry. It is the only path to sustainable stakeholding”, she said.
Celebrating an Icon, the son of the Bille Kingdom, Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye (FNSE) who is also the keynote speaker, received an appreciation for his immeasurable contribution towards the advancement of knowledge and value creation in the Nigerian economy.