Abuja students get chance to learn astronomy

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Astronomy Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria, says it is expanding its astronomy awareness programme to Kaduna, Kogi and Nasarawa states to enlighten more students, especially females.

Olayinka Fagbemiro, the National Coordinator AWB Nigeria, disclosed this in Abuja.

AWB held the first edition of astronomy camping programme in Abuja in April 2018 for girls to enable them to learn about astronomy in the country.

Fagbemiro said that the previous year’s astronomy camping programme generated more interest among participants, hence the need to widen the scope of the programme.

The coordinator added that “it is surprising to know that so many of our secondary school students don’t really know what it takes to be an astronomer.

“During our 2018 outreach, we noticed that after sensitising students, so many of them were surprised at what the career is all about.

“To further consolidate on the sensitisation programme, we are spreading the astronomy education to Kaduna, Kogi, Kaduna and Abuja.”

Fagbemiro said that the astronomy camping programme would focus more on encouraging the girl-child to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

She said it was necessary to encourage more girls to take up careers in STEM because the percentage of men in the area was higher than women.

She added that “the camp aims to address the challenge of gender lopsidedness in school enrollment.

“It will be focusing on the female gender to bridge the gap that exists between male and female children enrollment, particularly across the Northern part of Nigeria.

“It will encourage and motivate the girl-child in STEM education.”

She added that AWB aimed to reach thousands of school girls through the astronomy camps in the different states across the country for national development.

According to Fagbemiro, the girls will carry out hands-on activities and will be selected from both private and public secondary schools.