Universities in Africa have been tasked to include sustainable entrepreneurship skills to the studies of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics STEM, to change the narratives on the global stage.
The universities are also urged to focus more on demand driven education in STEM inorder to reduce unemployment on the African continent.
These were the major highlights at the 3rd International Conference jointly organised by the Association of African Universities AAU, and the African University of Science and Technology AUST, for Women leadership positions in Higher Education,WoLPHE .
Speaking at the conference held in Abuja, Professor Magaret Kings ,President Global Institute of planning and sustainable development, said there is need to encourage women in leadership positions in Higher Institutions.
Kings identified culture as major factor that must be deliberately tackle ,she added that this poses set back for women in all fields.
“The message to the world is that we are at the university,we teach,we train and we create the president’s of the world ,most importantly Nigeria have the largest economy in the world and as we continue to gather textbook knowledge we must strife to become a knowledge economy”
“It is sad that we are adding to the unemployment ,let us begin to move to the next level while training our science majors on STEM we also need to add creative art to what we are doing,”she said.
Speaking on Global Institute of planning &sustainable development, king says the organisation connects diaspora Africans with continental Africans .
“At the Institute, we give women the training that strengthen their knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with entrepreneurial skills to turn their skills to money making business and by so doing unemployment will be reducing.”
She urged countries in Africa to be intentional in developing and positioning women in high positions , so as to meet Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.
According to Prof King, “Africa must be intentional in achieving sustainable development goals of 2030 specifically that of gender parity, there is need to acquire entrepreneurship skills to STEM”.
“Dismissing the goal of gender parity specifically in any university or even in any African country ,will further pose difficulties to impacting on the younger women,” she stated.
The Secretary General of the Association of African Universities AAU, Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, said the conference was a key response and platform that is contributing to the awareness creation and attainment of (SDGs) 4 and 5 on Quality Education, and Women and Girl’s Empowerment.
According to him, “the conference theme – Women’s Participation in Science Programmes in Africa was aptly chosen to throw more light on the fact that Africa needs to ensure that its human resource – both men and women, are fully engaged in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in solving its developmental challenges”
“We all need to ensure that our institutions make significant investment into women in STEM to increase their contribution to solving the continent’s challenges”.
The promotion of Women in Science to contribute massively and equally to a developed Africa must form an integral part of various plans and strategies aimed at achieving the African Union’s vision of ‘Africa We Want’ by the year 2063. Ehile stated.
The AUST Director of Academic, Professor Azikiwe Onwualu ,urged universities in Africa to join the global movement that seeks to create balance in the field of STEM.
According to Onwualu, “AAU brought women in higher Institutions together from different African countries to discuss issues hindering their participation in leadership positions of science, technology, engineering and Mathematics ,these fields are dominated by men.”