SEVENTY young women and girls on Saturday graduated from the Guyanese Girls Code 2021 initiative through the Industry and Innovation Unit under the Office of the Prime Minister.
The special Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) training was crafted to create awareness and encourage young women and girls to take up careers in ICT.
During the programme, the participants were engaged in design-thinking, flowcharts, and creating mini-games.
Shahrukh Hussain, Director of the Industry and Innovation Unit, called the initiative “instrumental,” noting that for many of the participants it was the first step in their journey with STEM.
Hussain explained that training activities such as these are much needed as they not only expose women to a male-dominated fields, but it also allows them the opportunity to interact with other women who have similar interests and who can encourage and guide them as they embark on this journey.
“This activity support [sic] technology, education and skill training, and encourage [sic] more girls and young woman [sic] to actively pursue a career [sic] in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It cannot be underestimated how important this achievement is for you young girls who have made us all proud of your success. Programmes like this [sic] help inspire a global movement to increase the representation of girls and women in ICT,” said Hussain.
Noting the importance of ICT in everyday life, Hussain spoke of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected work and learning in the past year.
He noted that it is with this in mind that government has been investing in initiatives such as Girls Code to ensure that women in the local economy have the opportunity to create innovative ICT solutions that can be utilized to make everyday life better.
“It is quite evident that during this pandemic, school closure …has [had] an effect on [the] digital divide, internationally or locally, whereby learning opportunities for two-thirds of the world’s children have been affected. Most of these children are without internet. As we look here in Guyana and across the Caribbean I have to admit that we are faced with significant lack of education on the importance of ICT for young women. As such, they have less access to skilled training and development that will enable them to gain employment in the ICT sector, but this is one area we intend to change as government,” Hussain explained.