Jamaica Gleaner

GIRLS WHO CODE

- Mikala John­son GLEANER IN­TERN

IT CAN’T be de­nied that the tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try is mostly dom­i­nated by men. But this is some­thing that state min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Science, Tech­nol­ogy, Energy and Min­ing, Ju­lian Robin­son, plans to change by in­tro­duc­ing the Girls Who Code pro­gramme to Ja­maica.

The pro­gramme was first held last sum­mer over a four-week pe­riod, which proved very suc­cess­ful as all 25 par­tic­i­pants grad­u­ated as coders.

At the of­fi­cial launch of this year’s Girls Who Code sum­mer camp held at the Youth Vibez Com­puter Lab at the Franklin Town com­mu­nity cen­tre last Wed­nes­day, Min­is­ter Robin­son noted that men make up 95 per cent of the tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try in Ja­maica, and teach­ing girls how to code will en­cour­age young girls to get in­volved in tech­nol­ogy at a very early age.

The min­is­ter plans on spread­ing the cod­ing pro­gramme by in­tro­duc­ing Girls Who Code clubs in ev­ery school that is a part of the Tablets in Schools Pro­gramme. “See­ing that they al­ready have ac­cess to tablets, it will be eas­ier to start by teach­ing it in those schools,” he said.

Robin­son ex­plained that his aim is to grow and ex­pand the pro­gramme is­land­wide, to re­duce the gen­der im­bal­ance in the IT sec­tor, and cre­ate a level play­ing field in the in­dus­try.

Thir­teen-year-old Maziki Both, who is a part of this year’s pro­gramme, said that, so far, she has learnt the prin­ci­ples of cod­ing and how to cre­ate an en­tire web­site. The Cam­per­down stu­dent said she hopes to con­tinue do­ing cod­ing at the end of the pro­gramme, so she will be able to teach other girls.

Vice-chair­man of The Mus­son Foun­da­tion Me­lanie Subratie is of the view that cod­ing should be a tool all Ja­maican chil­dren can use com­fort­ably.

Spon­sors of the pro­gramme The Mus­son Foun­da­tion and Se­prod Lim­ited as well as the min­istry, said the pro­gramme will be held an­nu­ally as they seek ways to reach as many high-school age girls as pos­si­ble.

 ?? PHOTOS BY JODI IMANI MOR­GAN ?? Par­tic­i­pant Na­gaer Ben­nett, vis­it­ing from Florida, demon­strates to Min­is­ter Robin­son how to use the tur­tle cod­ing sys­tem. Tiyana McRae works on her pro­gramme at the Girls Who Code Pro­ject in Vine­yard Town. Maziki Both (cen­tre) shares her ex­pe­ri­ence...
PHOTOS BY JODI IMANI MOR­GAN Par­tic­i­pant Na­gaer Ben­nett, vis­it­ing from Florida, demon­strates to Min­is­ter Robin­son how to use the tur­tle cod­ing sys­tem. Tiyana McRae works on her pro­gramme at the Girls Who Code Pro­ject in Vine­yard Town. Maziki Both (cen­tre) shares her ex­pe­ri­ence...

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