GEARING UP GIRLS FOR CAREERS IN TECHNOLOGY
The need for ICT in Nigerian secondary schools cannot be overemphasized. In this technology-driven age, everyone requires ICT competence to survive. Organizations are finding it very necessary to train and re-train their employees to establish or increase their knowledge of computers and other ICT facilities. This calls for early acquisition of ICT skills by students. The ability to use computers effectively has become an essential part of everyone’s education. Skills such as bookkeeping, clerical and administrative work, stocktaking, and so forth, now constitute a set of computerized practices that form the core IT skills package: spread sheets, word processors, and databases. The demand for computer/ICT literacy is increasing in Nigeria, because employees realize that computers and other ICT facilities can enhance efficiency. On the other hand, employees have also realized that computers can be a threat to their jobs, and the only way to enhance job security is to become computer literate. With the high demand for computer literacy, the teaching and learning these skills is a concern among professionals. This is also true of other ICT components.
AfriGrowth Foundation has designed Girl Tech Africa as a signature project, under the STEAM concept, to avail girl student access to computers, ICT training and digital literacy, which will enable them access and use computer technologies more effectively in the vanguard of building their productivity.
These male-dominated fields which lack women, due to inadequate encouragement of girls to pursue science and technology at the early school-going age, has been a cause for worry to many including the United Nations which was compelled last year to adopt a resolution to establish an annual International Day to commemorate the role girls and women play in science and technology.
We believe that ICT skills hold a key place in enabling our present and future generations to participate successfully in the Information based Economy of the Twenty-First Century. Logically we strongly believe that to have women in tech tomorrow, there should be a greater number of girls in tech today. They need to be immersed in technology and be passionate about the subject. They also need to make supporting choices in education and job market to emerge as technocrats, tech-entrepreneurs and tech-leaders.
Basically Girl Tech Africa will help to meet the computer and ICT Curriculum needs of female secondary schools, and initiate a cost-effective and practical way to provide girl students with significantly increased access to computers and ICT instruction. Girl Tech Africa will establish computer labs in target female secondary schools and equally train designated number of teachers on an approved ICT curriculum to effectively teach students in their respective schools. In each target school, Girl Tech Africa will not only avail girl students access to ICT tools that adjust to their attention span and provide valuable and immediate feedback for literacy enhancement, which is currently not fully implemented in the Nigerian school system, but further connect them to the internet. The aim of this laudable initiative is to impart ICT skills to girls and young women in female secondary schools, and harness ICT to improve, enrich, and expand education in underserved communities.
It is clear that ICTs will continue to significantly impact all societies worldwide, in all economic, social, and cultural aspects especially education. The knowledge economy is demanding new types of learners and administrators. New technologies are changing modes of learning, collaboration and expression. The Internet is a driving force for much development and innovation in both developed and developing countries.
Thus this Project will be able to create a new generation of ICT equipped girl students, ready to usher in a better knowledge economy.