Wed | Apr 26, 2017

Girls who code

Published:Sunday | August 9, 2015 | 8:00 AMMikala Johnson
Jodi Imani Morgan Tiyana McRae works on her programme at the Girl's Who Code Project in Vineyard Town.
Maziki Both (center) shares her experience being a part of this year's Girls Who Code summer camp. Looking on are Richard Pandohie-CEO of Seprod and Leshaun Hibbert.
Participant Nagaer Bennett visiting from Florida demonstrates to Minister Robinson how to use the turtle coding system.
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Girls who code

It can't be denied that the technology industry is mostly dominated by men. But this is something that State Minister in the Minister of Science Technology Energy and Mining (STEM) 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 tablet in school 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 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 aged girls as possible.