This December, female seniors at Effat University took part in the country’s first solar energy training program on how to install a rooftop solar photovoltaic system created by Saudi female engineers.
Speaking to Arab News, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Malak Al-Nory, explained that the training program was a joint effort between the university and Altaqaa Alternative Solutions Company.
He also explained that they had been approached by several companies offering “to install solar roofs for us, but we wanted our students to experience it firsthand, to partake in designing and installation. We’re looking for many studies to be conducted as an aftermath of this program.”
The solar system will be installed alongside an electric grid, helping to generate power for the deanship of graduate studies and research building.
Effat University is the first university in Saudi Arabia to offer female students a two-year-long Master’s in Energy Engineering, demonstrating its commitment in supporting the country’s Vision 2030, to create “a sustainable non-oil dependent future for the Kingdom,” said Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, president of the University.
Over the past years, women in the region have been enrolling in science, technology, engineering and math university courses at astounding rates, according to a recent study conducted by the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).
According to Gulf News, r the number of female university students in the Middle East enrolling in STEM subjects such as computer science and engineering is close to 50 percent, higher in comparison to countries such as the US, where enrolment rates for women range between 10 and 20 percent.
“In the Arab world, women are embracing these sectors, in some countries like Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even the UAE, it is women who sometimes even make up the majority of students in computer science and engineering [courses],” explained Sana Odeh, clinical professor of computer science at New York University Abu Dhabi.