No fewer than 10 primary school girls in the Federal Capital Territory have been awarded over N3 million in scholarships for three years to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Mrs Funmilola Ojelade, the President of Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN), presented the dummy cheque to the girls at the event on Saturday in Abuja.
The scholarship programme, which is tagged “Invent it. Build it’’, started in 2018.
Ojelade said that this year’s event is tagged “National Security, Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM) Scholarship for Girls in STEM”.
“The Invent 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 good 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 agree with our cause.
“In 2018, NSPM Plc 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. This one is for girls in the FCT, which is the Headquarters of the orgnisation. Lagos will follow in due course,” Ojelade said.
She said the event is a competition to select girls with engineering aptitude and provide them with incentive to study engineering by awarding them scholarships from primary school to tertiary institution.
She explained that primary schools involved in the competition were from Area Councils like Kuje, Abaji, Kwali, Bwari, Gwagwalada, AMAC, Kubwa and Lugbe.
She said that 10 winners will emerge and each will get a three-year scholarship fully funded by the NSPM.
she said that the scholarships were incentives to girls to take 10 subjects with the hope that they will study either engineering or printing technology, adding that the fund has already been deposited in the APWEN Scholarship Trust Fund.
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 if you educate a girl, you educate a nation but if you educate a man, you only educate an individual.
“The 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 future,” Emefiele said.
Masanawa, also the Guest Speaker for STEM influencers, said that the programmes started by APWEN in 2018 to encourage females to study STEM which had been dominated by males.
He said that encouraging young girls to take up those important courses as profession would build capacity for Nigerians to build the Nigeria of their dreams.
He said 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 work force that will bring about innovation that would place the country on the global technology map.
“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,’’ Masanawa said.
The President of the Council for the Regulation of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), Mr Ali Rabiu, said the “Invent It, Build It” programme is an initiative of the female arm of the Nigerian Society of Engineers called APWEN.
“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 your gender and when there is segregation or disparity in treatment and is reported to COREN, we handle it,” Rabiu said.
High point of the event was the presentation of the cheque of N3.150 million only to the 10 winners.