The former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has commended MasterCard and Youth for Technology Foundation, an international non-for-profit organisation, on the Nigeria launch of the Girls4Tech initiative.
The Girls4Tech initiative is MasterCard’s signature education programme designed for young girls with the goal of inspiring them to build skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Ezekwesili lauded MasterCard and the YTF for making the educational investment to encourage more girls to take up interest in STEM subjects.
She spoke at the launch of the programme at the RiverBank School.
The former minister admonished the young girls at the launch to emulate the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Elon Musk who are making giant strides in the field of technology.
She added, “If Nigeria is going to become a new and different country, it depends on you. You are the human capital that will completely change the basis of Nigeria’s development. Your generation is heralding the fourth industrial revolution.”
The MasterCard’s Area Business Head for West Africa, Omoke Adebanjo, said in her address that MasterCard had the goal of reaching out to 200,000 girls through the Girls4Tech programme by the year 2020.
She noted that there was a gap in the amount of jobs requiring STEM skills and the number of women taking up the opportunities.
Adebanjo said, “According to the latest statistics, about 80 per cent of jobs that will be created in the next decade will require some combination of science, technology, engineering and math. Yet, women make up only 30 per cent of the science and technology workforce. Therein lies the importance of the Girls4Tech initiative.”
She further said, “Subjects such Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are going to change the world in the nearest future and more girls are needed to take up more interest in these study areas. Since the inception of the Girls4Tech initiative, Mastercard has successfully trained about 30,000 girls. We leverage our employees as role models and mentors. We also work through collaborations, hence our partnership with the YTF on this initiative.”
The President, YTF, Njideka Harry, advised the girls to take advantage of the opportunity of the exposure to the basics of the STEM subjects.
She said, “The opportunities in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are immense, hence young girls should take up more interest.”