The W.TEC Academy is an after-school programme designed to inspire girls in public secondary schools to pursue computer science careers. The girls go through a year-long computing curriculum, which includes Computer Architecture & Networking, Alice Programming and Digital Arts. With clubs in Lagos and Kwara states of Nigeria, we expanded to Obalaju High School, Joga and Yewa College, Ilaro, both in Ogun State. In 2021, we will broaden the curriculum and open it to boys in the community.
According to the EQUALS Research Report 2019 on the gender digital gap, only 35% of women major in STEM subjects at higher education. In Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, women makeup just 22% of the total number of Engineering and Technology university graduates. The UNESCO 2017 Cracking the Code Report explains that leaving out girls and women from STEM education and careers is a loss for all of society and delays the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
A McKinsey report on Closing the Gender Gap emphasised the need to design interventions for those facing the most barriers to a STEM education, such as women and girls of color. W.TEC Academy seeks to provide girls, especially those from low-income backgrounds who would not otherwise have this opportunity, comfortable and safe spaces within their local communities, where they can develop skills in STEAM - Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths - subjects and learn about related careers.
Through weekly in-school and out-of-school workshops, the Academy editions in Lagos and Kwara states are getting the students excited about science, technology, design and engineering disciplines and inspire them to pursue related careers. This expansion will extend the programme to female students in Obalaju High School, Yewa North Local Government, Joga, Ogun State and equip and prepare them to contribute meaningfully to and benefit from the digital economy.