Mentoring girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is, no doubt, viewed as one of the most central pillars for equitable and secure sustainable future of Africa.
The opportunity to build an interest in teens and young adults in the areas of STEM – Science Technology Engineering Mathematics is vital to the growth and competitive ability of African nations and a continent where natural resources are still being discovered.
African students can learn from examples in the movie Hidden Figures to follow their dreams, moving forward in their lives. Breyonna Fox a high school student and blogging intern with #MyQuestToTeach attended the showing of Hidden Figures was enthusiastically overwhelmed of the success the women achieved.
She dreams of being a veterinarian and is inspired by Taylor Richardson and her goals to be an astronaut and travel to Mars and return home. Not just as a singularly in their journey, collectively they worked together to make sure all the women were successful. Many women have a solidarity today like this, but lacking the opportunities to exercise this in the areas of tech.
Because of their collaborative spirit and willingness to be successful even through the challenges each person understood their value in the collective mission. HBCUs are educational institutions that are attracting more African students as the progress increases on their continent and in their nations.
HBCUs have a special connection to the African continent, not just through slavery, but the African and African American Diaspora, innovation and cultural connections. Naturally African nations would send their students to HBCUs to study.
Stated in a previous blog, African youth, teens and young adults need to watch the movie when they can, there are many areas that can be related to on both continents. Civil rights movement, Jim Crow laws and open prejudice against people of colour and even religious persecution.
Hidden Figures shows in calm and quiet ways that not all whites are racists just as in the movie “Selma.” The goal to show that girls and women globally can be successful in careers that involve STEM: Science Technology Engineering Mathematics.
The educational initiative that is on fire in the United States is growing in Africa, schools are implementing curriculums that encourage hands on project based learning and using tech for hands on projects and collaborations.
Data is showing that there are over a billion people in Africa, and there are approximately 2,000 colleges and universities on the continent. In Sub-Saharan Africa 70 per cent of the population is under the age of 30, the prime working age but only seven per cent of Africans are enrolled in tertiary education.
The dreams of African youth, teens and young adults are similar to those in the United States, United Kingdom and other nations. Having creative dreams, imaginations and a desire for innovative platforms to build. Hidden Figures no matter what continent it is seen on bonds people of color and culture that have been denied opportunities and recognition.
Writing works of literature by Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and other African writers can connect to this movie also because Africa has produced some of the smartest minds in the world, but they too have not been provided recognition and their due credit.
Sarah Hambly, Communication Manager at Planet Earth Institute, “for Africa to succeed, the brightest young students need to be given opportunities. Governments need to invest in education and create a legislative framework, which allows tertiary education, particularly in STEM subjects, to prosper.
If equipped with the right skills, especially in the STEM fields, Africa’s increasing
youth can continue to innovate their way into a sustainable, science-led and bright tomorrow.”
Hidden Figures is becoming a global movement beyond the states and making changes on how recognition is finally being paid to those who have worked to achieve greatness for their nation by solving complex problems that many will benefit from.
Africa is gradually building a dynamic infrastructure to support the next generation of tech innovators and visionaries. This is the time to be an entrepreneur to share a vision of educational growth and development in STEM.
Stated from Peta Clarke, Technical Lead at Black Girls Code:
“Now we’re in an age where technology is mandatory, and we wanted
young girls to have this understanding and know how to build an app.”
This should be the wakeup call for African parents to prepare their children for the future just as was done in Hidden Figures. The priority is to prepare girls and women of all hues of colour and culture to enter into new careers as visionaries for the future.
This should be a priority for parents to prepare their children, especially girls to be exposed, involved and active in building technology skills.
The future of the African continent and all the nations are depending on this. Phillip L. Clay “It’s Africa’s time to rise: let’s end our academic isolation”
(The Guardian, 7 March 2016)