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CEMREST CONTINUES TO PROVIDE STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) EDUCATION FOR GIRLS IN CAMEROON

CEMREST CONTINUES TO PROVIDE STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) EDUCATION FOR GIRLS IN CAMEROON

It is crucial to recognize that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in every country’s growth and development. After all, it is well known that STEM contributes significantly to the economic, social and ecological development of a country, which leads to sustainable development.

The low participation rate of women in the field of STEM can be attributed to many factors, but in short, STEM is traditionally seen more as a circuit for men than for women. Many complex challenges affect the participation of women and girls in science and technology development in Cameroon and across Africa.

Some dedicated and committed women have too little confidence in themselves. We also see that there is a lack of opportunity and, in many cases, the encouragement of those around them. The lack of encouragement of young women and girls to develop interest in technology is a very big obstacle. Opening new doors requires a series of shifts in both mentality and, in some cases, culture. It is against this background that CEMREST has been offering STEM education to girls in Cameroon for over five years.

With a mobile STEM laboratory, financed by the King Boudewijnstichting and with funds from the municipality of Heist Op den Berg, and with second-hand scientific material donated by several schools in Belgium and the Netherlands, CEMREST has been able to reach schools in rural parts of Cameroon to students (especially girls) to encourage and educate in the field of STEM. We also organize STEM camps for teenage girls where we introduce them to coding, robotics, microscience, 3D printing, etc.

The results so far are encouraging. The passing rate for girls in public exams has increased and more girls are excelling in math and other technical subjects. We have been able to reduce the gender stereotypes, with technical subjects often seen as male. There is also a significant reduction in the gender gap which causes more girls to challenge boys in math and physics.

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