State Minister Urges More Young Women to Enter ICT Sector

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson (left) and Senior Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Walter Bender (right), assists Grade 6 students of the Clan Carthy Primary School, Anastasia Seville (seated, left) and Ashanti Daley (seated, right) to do work on their computer tablets. Occasion was the International Girls in ICT Day Workshop, held today (April 23), at the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) offices in Downtown Kingston. Founder of Jamaican Girls Coding, Melanie Subratie (centre), looks on.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, is encouraging more young females to become actively involved in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
  • The State Minister was speaking at the International Girls in ICT Day Workshop, held today (April 23) at the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) offices in Downtown Kingston.
  • The initiative was a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining; the Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries and START UP Jamaica. Funding for the workshop was provided by the Musson Foundation.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, is encouraging more young females to become actively involved in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

Mr. Robinson emphasised that it is important to expose young women to the benefits of coding and career opportunities in ICT from a very young age.

The State Minister was speaking at the International Girls in ICT Day Workshop, held on Thursday, April 23, at the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) offices in Downtown Kingston.

Some 30 students who attended the workshop were introduced to computer programming and provided with information on career opportunities in the ICT sector.

The State Minister challenged the students to become ambassadors in their schools.

“We want to expose you to other ways in which you can use the technology. Many of you use the technology for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) preparations, but there are other things that you can do with the tablet…so when you leave here you can experiment on your own,” he said.

The Grade 6 female students who participated in the workshop were selected from several institutions that are currently involved in the Tablets in Schools initiative. These included Chetolah Park, Clan Carthy, Saint Benedict’s and Mona Heights Primary Schools and Rennock Lodge All Age School.

Senior Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Founder of Sugar Labs and the One Laptop per Child project, Walter Bender, was the instructor of the workshop. He introduced the students to the fundamentals of programming.

“This is the first time that we have ever done this programme using tablets…you’re pioneers,” he said.

The workshop, which was a ‘Total Art Day’, used software that incorporates critical thinking and math skills to create art, using computer programming language, facilitated by tablets provided through the Tablets in School initiative of the Government.

Key sponsor of Jamaican Girlz Coding and Vice Chairman and Principal Shareholder of Musson (Jamaica) Limited, Melanie Subratie, said the workshop aimed to empower girls to be architects of technology and not just consumers of it.

“You are the future programmers… and that impact could be felt through what you have started learning today,” she told the students.

The initiative was a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining; the Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries and START UP Jamaica. Funding for the workshop was provided by the Musson Foundation.

 

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