Female students tasked to embrace science and technology

Eng Zaria Tibalwa Waako, CEO of Electricity Regulatory Authority

Kabarole, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Girls have been encouraged to take up science subjects to achieve gender inclusiveness and break stereotypes surrounding science courses.

This call was made by officials from the Electricity Regulatory Authority- ERA while meeting over 200 female students from seven secondary schools at Nyakasura School in Fort Portal City on Tuesday.

The students were from seven schools including Nyakasura School,  St Maria Gorrete Secondary School,  Mpanga Secondary School,  Ibaale Secondary School, Kabarole Adventist Secondary School, Kigarama Talent School, and Kamego Secondary School.

The meeting under ERA’s project “Women in Energy” is meant to inspire female students to break the stereotypes and negative attitudes towards Science, Technology,  Engineering, and Mathematics – STEM subjects.

Eng Zaria Tibalwa Waako the Chief Executive Officer of Electricity Regulatory Authority-ERA noted that over the years, there has been a low turn-up of girls pursuing science and technology courses at higher institutions of learning because girls develop a negative attitude towards these subjects from primary and lower secondary schools due to lack of proper guidance.

Eng Zaria says that the purpose of meeting these students is to mentor and attract female students to join the energy sector to achieve gender inclusiveness.

She adds that by raising awareness about renewable energy and the opportunities available for women in the sector, women can be empowered to access clean energy and reduce poverty

Dr Sarah Wasagali Kanabi  Board  Chairperson at ERA encouraged the students to be focused,  work hard, be disciplined, and believe in themselves to compete with their male counterparts in the science field.

She says that parents and the public should also be sensitized to change their mindset and support girls to take up science and technology courses.

Namukisa Charleen a student at Nyakasura School says that through the meeting she realized that although she had always thought that science subjects were for boys, she was inspired by the stories of the female engineers.

Norah Nabuufu from Kabarole Adventist Secondary School noted that although female students are determined to pursue science subjects they are pulled back by challenges like poor backgrounds,  stereotypes,  inadequate equipment in science laboratories, and distractions.

While releasing the 2023 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education, the Uganda National Examination Board-UNEB Chairperson Prof Celestino Obua noted that entries for girls in science subjects are lower than boys at A-Level although girls perform these subjects well.

According to the 2021 UNESCO report, one out of three science researchers globally are female while only 30 percent of science researchers in Africa are women.

In 2017 UNESCO revealed that 33 percent of students in STEM fields were female.

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