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Vodacom, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, and Durban University of Technology (DUT) have partnered to launch the 2020 #CodeLikeAGirl programme — which plans to equip over 300 girls with coding and robotics training.
The programme will see girls between the ages of 14 and 18, from previously disadvantaged schools, develop skills in STEM fields.
The 300 participants will attend the programme during the December school holidays, between 7 and 11 December.
Participants will learn about computer languages, robotics, and development platforms and programs. Meanwhile, the week-long course will also include education on presentation skills.
At the end of the week, each girl will present their own coded website to the class.
The programme has been welcomed by the provincial education department.
“If we are to level the playing field and deal decisively with patriarchy and gender gap, we need to institutionalise programmes like Code Like A Girl,” Kwazi Mshengu, MEC for Education in KwaZulu Natal said.
“As a Department of Education in KwaZulu Natal we appreciate the invaluable partnership with Vodacom and DUT and we are persuaded that this programme is going to go a long way to advance the interest of our girl learners and bridge the gender divide in our society.”
The partnership aims to address the gender disparity in tech sector roles.
Chris Lazarus, Managing Executive for Vodacom KwaZulu Natal region, said that tackling the problem requires cooperation between the private and public sectors.
“The gender disparity between men and women in STEM careers is alarming the world over, especially in emerging economies like South Africa,” Lazarus said.
“We believe that there needs to be a concerted effort both from government, private sector, and academia to encourage young girls still in school to take up STEM subjects and this way close the gap in the field.”
Feature image: Vodacom