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Academics commend Nigerian, Imafidon, awarded MBE

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Folashade Adebayo

Academics on Tuesday commended Anne-Marie Imafidon, a Nigerian decorated with the Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Imafidon, 27, was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II for her social enterprise, Stemettes, which supports and encourages young women in the United Kingdom and Ireland to embark on careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

A renowned mathematician, Imafidon was 13 years old when she was offered an admission to study Mathematics at the John Hopkins University.

By the time she turned 20, she was one of the youngest persons to be awarded a Masters’ degree in Mathematics at Oxford University.

In 2016, the award-winning Nigerian was named the 8th Most Influential Woman in IT in the United Kingdom.

Congratulating her on the feat, the immediate past Chief Executive of the National Mathematical Centre, Abuja, Prof Adewale Solarin, urged the private sector to partner government and other stakeholders in getting more schoolgirls into STEM fields.

He said, “It is a great thing she has done and I wish we can have the opportunity to do likewise in Nigeria. The more we can invest in girls, the more we will achieve in our country.  Boys are not better than girls in Mathematics and I have statistics to prove that.

“Out of the top 100 results in the 2009 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, 62 were girls. That was very significant. If it were between 48 and 52, we could say it was a chance. Our girls have the competence and what we need to do is to build their confidence. We need the private sector to initiate a similar programme in Nigeria and inspire girls to study STEM courses from the primary school level.’’

Also, the Head of the Department of Educational Foundations, University of Lagos, Mrs Ngozi Osarenren, urged government to focus on providing quality education to Nigerian pupils.

She said, “I am very proud of her. She is a Benin woman and the ‘brainiest’ family in the United Kingdom is from Benin. The truth is that we run very different systems and the opportunities available there are not here. You will not be admitted into a university here in Nigeria if you are a day short of 16 years and this is a girl who was admitted into university at 13. Government should focus on providing quality education because the feat would not have been possible if she was not exposed to quality education.’’

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