Dr. Tom Ilube CBE, the founder and chair of the African Gifted Foundation, has called on young females across Africa to embrace science and technology. He believes that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) hold enormous potential to transform the lives of girls, their countries, and the entire African continent.
Dr. Ilube made this call during the inauguration of a new robotics and laboratory block for the African Science Academy, an all-girls STEM educational institution in Tema. He believes that the opening of the new building would help to expand the school and increase the intake of brilliant but needy girls in STEM. The African Science Academy’s mission is to excite and empower girls with knowledge and confidence in STEM to become future problem solvers and leaders.
It is crucial to acknowledge that women play a crucial role in the development of society through STEM, as emphasized by Yasameen Al-jboury, the Executive Director of African Gifted Foundation. There is a need to support initiatives and organizations that believe in the power and potential of African women in science and technology.
On April 27, 2023, the world will celebrate International Girls in ICT, making it an excellent opportunity to encourage more girls into STEM. The African Science Academy seeks to support African Gifted girls across the continent to be at the forefront of innovations.
Currently, the school has 40 girls’ students from 12 African countries, according to Ms Gifty Ghansah, the Head Teacher of African Science Academy. She encourages African young girls not to lose their femininity in pursuing careers in ICT or studying STEM. STEM is not just about engineering; it is everywhere, and people should begin to think about it that way.
Ms Ghansah also calls on parents to consider giving their daughters the chance to explore the opportunities within the areas of STEM. Additionally, teachers of mathematics and science should ensure that the subjects are made interesting and relatable in their various schools.
Statistics have shown that there is still a gender gap in STEM fields. According to UNESCO, only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally are women. However, initiatives such as the African Science Academy, the African Gifted Foundation, and International Girls in ICT provide excellent platforms for encouraging more African girls into STEM.
Table 1: STEM Enrollment Ratio by Gender in Selected African Countries
- UNESCO (2021). Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Paris: UNESCO.
In conclusion, the call to encourage more African girls into STEM is crucial. Initiatives such as the African Science Academy and the African Gifted Foundation provide an excellent platform to achieve this. With more girls in STEM fields, the continent can drive innovations and make significant strides in economic growth and development. Parents, teachers, and governments should work together to ensure that more African girls are given the chance to explore the opportunities within the areas of STEM.