We are excited with how our member, ADPP Angola is supporting girls to learn science at its Teacher Training and Polytechnic Schools. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which fall on 11 February each year, promotes women in every branch of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For 2022, the theme is “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us.”
Humana People to People recognizes the role of women and girls in science, not only as beneficiaries but also as agents of change in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Over the past decades, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.
According to United Nation Women, females still account for only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution not only to economic development of the world, but to progress across all the goals & targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development too.
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
The Ministry of Education in Angola is working to promote an interest in STEM among young people with a bias towards female participation. The long-term ambition is to meet the needs, and increasing the competitiveness, develop science, inventions, innovations and growth of the country. In collaboration with Angola’s National Institute for Teacher Training, ADPP Angola has produced two STEM manuals, one for primary and one for lower secondary teachers, and complementary programmes of 20 STEM sessions for either of the schooling categories.
The primary school sessions deal with mathematics, natural sciences and inter-disciplinary studies, while the secondary school sessions cover math, chemistry, physics and interdisciplinary studies. The materials aim to inspire teachers to introduce practical activities, experiments and real-life situations to make learning STEM subjects meaningful, interesting and captivating on the student.
The program which started in 2018 engages teachers from the participating schools in training and they act as tutors and technical assistants for their colleagues. At first 60 teachers, worked in three groups, went on to acquire the tools and knowledge to bring STEM subjects alive. The STEM program has expanded thanks to a healthy relationship built with the Angola government’s Ministry of Education.
“Learning the science particularly chemistry, has assisted myself to break into male-dominated science field. The opportunity which came through the STEM program has helped me to inspire young girls to aspire for higher in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professions, thus breaking away from the ordinary tendencies,” says Elsa da Fonseca, a practicing teacher at Juventude em Luta, a government institute of science-based in Luanda, Angola.
Young women and adolescent girls trained are increasingly demonstrating zeal, enthusiasm and intellect as they equally participate as boys in the STEM programme offered by ADPP Angola at its Teacher Training Schools and Polytechnic Schools.
We call on the national governments to increase funding and formulate policies calling for gender equality to attract more girls to participate, gain confidence and take on natural science head-on in higher land tertiary education.