Empowering girls to pursue technology careers

High Tech Program for Girls in the 6th grade
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$115,000

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PROGRAMS / EDUCATION

The program’s goal is to engage girls at the elementary school level in ​​computational thinking and coding in order to develop competency and a positive attitude towards science and technology.

A key long-term objective of the program is to increase the proportion of women working in High Tech roles. Many High-tech companies seek a more diverse workforce but struggle to find qualified female candidates. Empowering girls to choose computer science subjects at school is instrumental in addressing this challenge.

Short term goal: 20% increase in the number of girls who elect to study computer science in middle school.

Long term goal: 40% increase in the number of girls who elect to do five units of computer science (the highest level) for matriculation. It is found that the vast majority of students who matriculate at this level go on to study computer science in university and pursue a career in the field.

In Israel, the proportion of women working in computer science is 20% -30%. The gender stigma about girls and science persists, and more needs to be done to lift female participation in this field. An important lever to address this is to expose girls to science and technology early and in a positive way so that they develop interest and motivation from a young age. A new High-tech program for Grade 6 students has been designed in partnership with the Education Administration of the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel Ministry of Education, Wix.com, and the Tel Aviv Teachers Development Center.

The program will create a continuous learning track from elementary school through to middle school. It will serve as a continuation of a Computer Science, Coding, and Robotics program, which was piloted last year for Grade 4 students and will now be extended to Grade 5 students. It will also serve as a feeder program to the middle school High Tech program, which piloted last year in Tel Aviv and will now be offered in all middle schools across the city. Forty percent of program participants were girls; however, it is important to engage girls early and ongoing in order to reduce the gaps.  In the first year, the program will be piloted in 30 elementary schools and impact 1000 students. The program is designed to reduce the gap in the number of boys and the number of girls who select STEM studies by targeting female students, both beginners and those with programming experience. It will teach computational thinking, programming languages, teamwork, advanced creative thinking, and problem-solving skills in fun and interesting ways. Computation thinking refers to the collection of cognitive skills and abilities drawn from the world of programming and includes Abstract and concrete thinking, Logic, Algorithmic thinking, Systems thinking, Problem solving skills, Teamwork, and independent learning.

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