STEM: Centre advocates provision of ICT, laboratory equipment for girls with special needs

STEM

The Centre for Girls’ Education, an NGO, has advocated for provision of ICT and laboratory equipment for girls with special needs in field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The centre made the advocacy at a round table engagement with the media and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) on Friday in Kaduna.

The engagement, funded by ‘Rise up’, a non-profit dedicated organisation, was aimed at providing equal opportunity for girls with disabilities in STEM, with a view to narrowing intra and inter gender gaps.

Hajiya Aisha Bello, the Centre’s Team Lead for the project,  said it was titled “Advocacy for improved budgetary allocation for STEM education for girls with special needs”.

She said they were awarded the project by ‘Rise Up’, to improve the lives of girls and women around the world.

She noted that the Centre for Girls Education, an NGO, had been working since 2007 in rural communities around Zaria and environs.

Bello said the NGO’s goal  was about improving the reproductive health outcomes and providing girls with support to access quality education.

Bello added that the project would provide equal opportunities for girls in
the area of STEM and enhance their education and economic security, to ensure diverse and talented STEM workforce and eradicate discrimination.

She explained that girls with special needs in Kaduna State had little access to education for various reasons, as such, the low budgetary allocation for STEM education.

According to her, the implication of such is that girls with special needs are under- represented in the educational planning and budgetary allocation in
Kaduna State.

“There is only one government special school in Kaduna, and they just recently started senior secondary section where the need for equipped ICT center/laboratory is essential.

“Girls with special needs in Kaduna State face double invisibility as they have very little access to education due to the poor budgetary allocation for STEM,” Bello said.

She, therefore, noted that their Expected Advocacy Result (EAR) was for the govemor of Kaduna State to sign the improved budgetary allocation for STEM education for girls aged 10 to 19.

Also, Jennifer Agbaji, a ‘Rise Up’ fellow, said girls with disability that had mobility
issues needed to be knowledgeable in technologies to help them go places they
cannot go easily.

Agbaji, who is also the Executive Director of the Basileia Vulnerable Persons Rights Initiative, noted that STEM education gave girls with disabilities the
skills that made them more employable and ready to meet the current labour demand.

She lamented that women with disabilities had low employment rates,
as compared with men with and without disabilities and women without disabilities, adding that more girls in STEM would bridge the gap.

“Because of the important role that
knowledge of quantitative math skills and science plays in everyday life, skills in
STEM could have a dramatic impact on
the daily lives and independence of girls and women with disabilities.

“Girls with disabilities need to be part of the workforce that STEM course alone can make possible, this will shrink the gap and reduce inequalities,” she said.

The fellow further noted that STEM education would afford women and girls with disabilities the opportunity to
pursue further education and future employment in fields on high demand.

She called on the government to increase budgetary allocation for girls with special needs in schools, resulting from the emerging needs of ICT and laboratory equipment.

She also called on the PWDs to endure the tedious processes of knowledge acquisition, while assuring them of better days ahead of cusioning their hardships as would be addressed, especially through the course undertaken.

The engagement was followed by signing of commitment letters by the media representative, for agreeing to support the project in achieving improved reportage of girls with disability in STEM.

It will also increase visibility for the project advocacy to gain support.