Project to bridge digital literacy gap

ARUSHA: MORE than 150 female secondary school students in the region have been acquainted with coding and web hosting skills, courtesy of Vodacom Tanzania’s ‘Code it Like a Girl’ initiative.

The initiative contributes to building a more digital, inclusive, sustainable future on the continent while tackling low representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education through a structured educational programme that targets underprivileged girls.

A Human Resources and Development Manager with the mobile phone operator, Naiman Moshi told the ‘Daily News’ here on Thursday, that the programme seeks to create an appetite for STEM related lessons among girls.

The Vodacom Tanzania official noted that through the project, which was initiated in 2018, girl students are exposed to coding basics and career paths that are related to current and future skill gaps while also building a talent pipeline that speaks to our current and future skills needs.

“As a mobile operator, we decided to take up the initiative with a view of bridging a gap of digital literacy among female students,” explained Mr Moshi, on the sidelines of the four day Bootcamp held at the Arusha Technical College (ATC).

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) estimates suggest that only around 35 per cent of all students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related fields are female.

Closing the gender gap in science is also crucial for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and meeting the promise of the 2030 Agenda to “leave no one behind.”

The project, which is also implemented by Tanzania Data Lab (dLab), has also seen deaf students brought on board, in the spirit of inclusivity.

The project coordinator from dLab Ms Somoe Mkwachu, observed that there was still much to do in addressing the misconception that “STEM is for boys” and help in closing the STEM gender gap.

“This is just a drop in the ocean, this needs to be scaled up as digital literacy is now a cross cutting issue,” she added.

A Form Four student from Ngarenaro Secondary School, Dorcas Prima expressed her excitement on participating on the Bootcamp, saying it will expand her knowledge horizon, as far as STEM was concerned.

Through the project, the students learn coding skills and get to network with new friends and mentors.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button