President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Kashim Abdul Ali, has stressed the need for states to strengthen and implement Child’s Rights Act, saying it would go a long way in checkmating indiscriminate child abuse in the society.
Speaking at the “Invent it, Build it” programme which was recently organised by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) in collaboration with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Kogi State, Adul also encouraged parents and guardians to educate their girl-child, describing such effort as a viable tool towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.
According to him, when a girl is educated, she will acquire knowledge and skills needed to advance her status for social interactions and self-improvement.
He further affirmed that the education of the girl- child also prepares her to face the reality in society and teaches her to be a good wife and mother.
“When she is educated, she realises the full potentials endowed in her, she discovers to be whoever and whatever she wants to be. With education, she would break the shell of ignorance and open that of self-discovery.
“This is because, when girls are not educated, they remain dependent on their parents before marriage, on their husbands after marriage, and on their children if eventually their husbands die,” he added.
He described a girl-child as a biological female offspring from birth to eighteen years of age adding, “This is the age before she becomes a young adult. This period covers the crèche, nursery or early childhood, primary education and secondary school.
“During this period, the young girl is totally under the care of the adult who may be her parents or guardians and older siblings. It is made up of infancy, childhood, early and late adolescence stages of development.
“At this period, the female child is malleable, builds and develops her personality and character. She is very dependent on the significant others, those on whom she models her behaviour, through observation, repetition and imitation. Her physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional developments start and progress to get to the peak at the young adult stage’’, Ali stated.
Stressing the need for girls to study engineering, he said it would enable them to acquire knowledge and skill set, eliminate inferiority complex, refine self-confidence and become financial independence.
Others, he said include; healthy competition with peers; promotion of creativity and innovativeness; and national and economic development.
Ali, defined engineering as a branch of science which deals with the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, operation and servicing of efficient and economic structures, machines, processes and systems.
“Today, these end results are seen in the likes of constructed bridges, dams, roads, railways, buildings, factory machines, automobiles, ships, aircrafts, computer and electronic systems, electrical fittings, their maintenance and repairs. Engineering is a professional course which has been proven to be a recognised tool for every nation’s economic growth and development. It has been and still is the forerunner for the development and progress of any country’’, he submitted.
He recalled that Nigerian female teenagers became the overall winning team of the 2018 Technovation World Pitch in California, United States, adding, “The team, Save-A-Soul”, developed a mobile application called ‘FD Detector’ to tackle the problem of fake pharmaceutical products in the country. The Nigerian girls defeated teams from the United States, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan and China to become the first Nigerian team to win the competition. The teenage girls are from Anambra state in the south-east region of Nigeria, and will be pitching their app to investors in the Silicon Valley”, he noted.
Quoting researchers he said: “It has been established that enabling female education is crucial for national development, and the role of women cannot be underestimated.
“The general belief is that “when you educate a man, you educate one, but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” This is so because the education of every child starts from the family and the mother is the first teacher. “Educating the girl-child produces mothers who are educated and who will in turn, educate their children, care for their families and provide for their children,” he affirmed.
However, he lauded the leadership and entire membership of APWEN and advised them to always be conscious of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s saying that: “In our society, the women who break downbarriers are those who ignore limits”.
Speaking earlier, President APWEN, Felicia Agubata , said that the overreaching objective of the “Invent it, Build it’’ programme which has been held in different primary schools in the six geo -political zones is to ignite passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in young girls and to showcase the socio-economic value and application of engineering in our everyday life.
Agubata further explained that the programme would bridge the gender gap in STEM education as well as engineering as a career choice.
She lauded their partners, NNPC for their support in ensuring that the programme covers the six geo -political zones of Nigeria.
It is worthy to note that this “Invent it, Build It’’, programme took place at Lea Primary School Ofugo Ankpa, Kogi State.