More girls interested in computers, but need a ‘push’

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The Ministry of Public Telecommunication Monday released the findings of two programmes held in 2018 which were aimed at promoting Information and Communications Technology, or ICT, to youths across the country.

The research found that more and more, young girls are interested in learning to use computers and become programmers, but they need to be given a push.

The two projects looked at were the Guyanese Girls Code and Regional Code Camps.

The findings were presented to the media at the Ministry of Telecommunications secretariat Monday.

The Camps were held in collaboration with the University of Guyana and the Ministry of Education National Centre for Education Research Development.

Training in computer literacy and first level coding were the main pillars of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications’ ICT education programme in 2018.

The Industry and Innovation department led outreaches to urban and rural areas; the basic overall objective was to raise the level of computer literacy beyond the basic throughout the country.

Speaking to the press Monday, Minister of Public Telecommunication Cathy Hughes said the objectives of the ministry is to provide ICT training and to ensure that every citizen becomes up-to-date with technology and the world at large.

Minister of Public Telecommunication Cathy Hughes

“To date the Ministry of Public Telecommunications has completed several training interventions and we’re ready to continue in the year ahead out goal is to reach into every single region not only to being the internet network to their homes and schools but also to train residence up close and personal you could say in the computer age and in using the internet to improve their daily lives whether it be for business or pleasure,” she stated.

In both the Guyanese Girls Code and Regional Code Camps a total of 176 children between the ages of 8-18 benefited from the ICT Training from Berbice, Linden and Essequibo.

Of this number, 96 young girls lead the charge. Previous studies showed that 26% of Guyanese women entered the digital sector in Guyana.

Penelope Defreitas a Lecturer in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Computer Science at the University of Guyana

These two new studies have indicated that girls are interested in ICT but need to be encouraged, said Penelope Defreitas a Lecturer in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Computer Science at the University of Guyana.

“The project we embarked on to educate young girls has an integral link to the seventeen sustainable development goals that were put forward by the United Nations.

“The project that we worked on the together… looked at a way we can reduce inequalities in number; this is a start we wanted to introduce quality education.”

Children were exposed to programming using various tools such as BASIC, COBOL, JAVA, Python, BBC Micro:bit, Scratch among others.

The 2019 edition of the camps will be launched on January 21 and will run year-round according to the ministry.

More emphasis will be placed on hinterland communities as efforts are being made to spread the ICT programmes around the country allowing all Guyanese equal opportunity to technology.

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