Mollin Mandaza – Zimbabwe
Gender-inclusive science, mathematics and technology to develop soft plan.
African leaders can ensure all girls matter and harness their potential by creating a girl child agenda to leave no girl behind and commit to working with them in a way that catches them young to ignite a passion for learning and school activities. This includes free primary school education, provision of sanitary ware in schools, infrastructure development on school roads in rural areas, school infrastructure upgrades, investments in education and assuring legal policies to guarantee girls’ safety from violence in streets and communities.
The education system therefore needs to be transformed to be more innovative, gender inclusive and modern curriculum which fosters can-do attitudes in class exercises using age-appropriate materials in science, mathematics and technology to develop soft and hard cognitive skills. Also, compulsory teacher gender sensitivity training should be done nationwide, school textbooks to be provided without gender stereotypes for careers in STEM fields and media e-tutorials which are fun, engaging and user-friendly. Girls need to be taught responsible leadership to nurture critical thinking, problem solving and independent research skills through project-based learning. Governments can boost STEM teacher salaries; provide massive incentives to female students like STEM full or partial scholarships; postgraduate internships; entrepreneurship or political science and research grants.
Governments should also invest in solar-powered gadgets with eBooks, science games and mathematics exercises; support schools with resources and tools to encourage a culture of asking questions and positive reinforcement to improve girls creativity, confidence and autonomy in learning from early childhood. Research and Development multisector government partnerships can form to create policies for girls’ safety, safe spaces in schools and communities and collect data statistics on gender-based violence against girls to inform lawmakers and the public. The use of social media videos and hash tags can mobilize national discussions and public engagement about violence and STEM education. Thus government incentives are required to teach girls to sense danger or seek help such as using media and apps; increased support centers online and physically; enforced legislation against cyberbullying, violence, harassment and gender discrimination in order to safeguard them against violence.
Nationwide government backed career fairs and educational expos can promote STEM and give career advice will enable girls to become the entrepreneurs, politicians and engineers of future. There also needs to be national science and technology innovation competitions annually with scholarships and book prizes; holiday business and science camps for girls; encourage girls to join junior parliamentary programs, inviting female political leaders to speak in schools and campaigns to highlight the nexus of STEM careers intersecting with other fields like fashion, social sciences, health, finance, environmental sciences, art or media in order to promote a basic understanding in them. As well as increased government sponsored field trips for public schools to laboratories, engineering construction sites and companies to expose them to successful female role models
This can make STEM, entrepreneurship and politics gender inclusive and give girls an opportunity to transform the future of our continent because problem-solving, decision-making and innovation are sources of power and choice.