NAIROBI, KENYA: Teachers have been urged to make use of digital social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and others to create networks to learn from each other while sharing different challenges at national and regional levels.
Kenya’s ambassador and permanent representative to UNESCO Prof. George Imbanga Godia said during a regional teachers training programme in Nairobi that UNESCO through its convening power and multi- sectoral offices in Africa had the capacity to support such networks.
Prof. Godia was officially closing the second Teacher regional teacher training for Africa at the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) that brought together 80 participants from 10 countries across the African continent.
“Teaching is a continuous learning process and I encourage you to continue learning from each other after workshops such as this one. Become TeachHer ambassadors and strive to share what you have learnt with your students and colleagues in your countries,” he said.
Prof Godia described Science, Technology, and Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities and careers that fuel the TeachHer programme as key accelerators of socio economic development of nations.
He said Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) would continue to play an important role in transforming African economies from natural resource to industrial based. “This can only be achieved with significant investment in STEAM related careers, still marked by a shortage of girls and women.
Remarked Prof. Godia: “Women make up a paltry 30 per cent of the world’s researchers and are more under-represented in engineering fields globally.
He said the lack of women in technology sectors has significant socio economic consequences with women losing an important tool for personal and economic empowerment while countries lose developmental opportunities as a result.
Prof Godia said the TeachHer initiative that is a private public partnership between UNESCO, the US Government and other partners aimed at creating a master corps of educators equipped to deliver innovative hands-on instruction for adolescent girls, opening doors in an area where women are greatly unrepresented.
He said it behooved female teachers to serve as role models for girl students to raise their interest in STEAM at an early age. And advised fathers to encourage their daughters to take up science subjects leading to professional careers in technical fields. “Girls develop resolve when told by their fathers that they can challenge men in any discipline,” he said.
Prof. Godia announced that Kenya would next year host the first Pan African high level conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), courtesy of UNESCO.
Participants in the training were drawn from Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was the second such training since TeachHer was launched in 2016.