No fewer than then Primary school girls in the Federal Capital Territory have been awarded N3.15million scholarship to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) up till university level.
Mrs Funmilola Ojelade, the President of the Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) gave the hint at the presentation of the cheque to the beneficiaries on Saturday in Abuja.
Ojelade in her address of welcome said that the scholarship was sponsored by Nigerian Security, Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM) through APWEN initiated programme “Invent it. Build it”.
According to her, the programme was initiated in 2018, to encourage young Nigerian females to take to STEM.
The president said that the programme was tagged National Security, Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM) Scholarship for Girls in STEM.
“The Invite it, Build it’, is being carried out in all the six geopolitical zones of the country, awarding close to 500 scholarships to girls from primary to university to study engineering.
“We depend on spirited organisations and individuals to fund this programme like the NSPM Plc is doing here today. All our scholarships are funded by people who understand and agreed with our course.
“In 2018, NNPC sponsored 81 school girls from all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, from primary to university under the “Invent it, Build it” Programme.
“Today NSPM would be sponsoring another 10 girls in the first instance. This one is for girls in the FCT, which is the headquarters of the organisation. Lagos would follow in due course,’’ Ojelade said.
According to her, the event is a competition to select girls with engineering attitudes and provide them with incentives to study engineering by awarding them scholarships from Primary school to tertiary institutions.
She explained that primary schools involved in the competition were from Area Councils like Kuje, Abaji, Kwali, Bwari, Gwagwalada and AMAC.
“10 winners will emerge and each of them will get a three-year scholarship fully funded by the NSPM. As we speak, the fund has already been deposited in the APWEN Scholarship Trust Fund.
“The scholarships are given as incentives to girls to take 10 subjects with the hope that they will study either engineering or printing technology,’’ Ojelade said.
Speaking, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, represented by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NSPM Plc, Mr Abbas Masanawa, said the girls were the future of the country and should be celebrated.
Emefiela said that “if you educate a girl, you educate a nation but if you educate a man, you only educate an individual.
“I wish to express my felicitation and best wishes to APWEN. CBN in the nearest future will also join in ensuring that girls are encouraged to study STEM.
“I pledge to support APWEN in their interventions to make this programme richer in the near future,’’ Emefiele said.
Masanawa, who also serves as the Guest Speaker for STEM influencers, said “we could not underscore the fact that this great event was started by APWEN in 2018.”
According to him, STEM are important courses that have been dominated by the male.
“And I think the time is right to see what we can do to encourage young girls to be able to take up those important courses as a profession.
“This will of course build capacity for us to be able to build the Nigeria of our dream,’’ Masanawa said.
He said the NSPM is involved in all forms of printing ranging from currency to electoral materials and many others.
He said that the NSPM would continue to sponsor the programme even after the expiration of the tenure of the current APWEN National president.
According to him, the aim is to build a female workforce that would bring about innovation that would place the country on the global map of technology.
“Today, it is 10 girls we are starting with. This is just the beginning, so for the girls, we want you to read, become graduates and come to become employees in NSPM Plc.
“We are encouraging you to read so that you can graduate as engineers, it does not matter, it can be Civil, Mechanical, Water, Electrical Petrochemical and other forms of engineering,’’ Mananawa said.
Similarly, the President of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Mr Ali Rabiu, said the `Invent It, Build It’ programme was an initiative of the female arm of the Nigerian Society of Engineers called APWEN.
“The idea is to encourage young Nigerian females to take to STEM. It is a noble idea and initiative.
“We at COREN are happy about this, and we will continue to give them the maximum support to make it a huge success. The Government also has a great role to play to encourage the study of STEM.
“However, there is no disparity between female and male Engineers; once you are a qualified engineer, you are an engineer regardless of the gender and when there is segregation or disparity in treatment and is reported to COREN, we handle it,’’ Rabiu said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the high point of the event was the presentation of the cheque of N3, 150,000 (three million, one hundred and fifty thousand naira only) to the 10 winners.