In Georgia, girls today are becoming more active in their future aspirations. However, up until now due to still widely manifested patriarchal attitudes and beliefs. It is common to still consider that technology is something only for boys.
Today we hear all the time that the future is in technologies, innovation and that there will be fewer jobs in the highly computerized world for people who do not poses creative, analytical and technological skills. Therefore, without engaging girls from the early years, we are leaving them in a disadvantaged position about their future careers, thus supporting the sustainability and perpetuation of gender inequality.
This is particularly so in the regions, where opportunities are even fewer and traditional viewpoints about the "role of a girl" are more manifested. Therefore, parents often prefer to engage girls in knitting, cooking, drawing, singing and dancing classes, while disregarding their possible engagement in more technology intensive activities.
Even though we are surrounded with technologies, using them wisely and creating technologies of the future requires interest and certain skills, which better be developed from early years. If the momentum is not used and girls grow up without interest and belief, that they can also do it equally to boys, they are doomed to uncertainty in the future and potentially dependent on others.
We propose to set up classes for girls based on the LEGO STEM Education approach. LEGO educational approach is focused on teaching technologies in practice – how they work around students, why they work in certain manner and how to apply the laws of physics and technologies for solving daily challenges.
We teach by hands-on learning through activities and experiments. Classes will provide open ended problem solutions for girls, to enable creative thinking and application of already acquired knowledge. This process not only equips girls with technical skills, but also with understanding of innovations management process – how to brainstorm, prototype solutions, pitch them to public and through this obtain skills, as well as confidence and self-esteem.
The classes will be set-up in Telavi as a pilot. This class can serve as a role model for other locations as well and create opportunities locally. The class is planned for 8 pupils at a time, requiring four sets of equipment – Simple and Powered Machines provided by LEGO Education.
To ensure sustainability and further development of the program, specialized classes will be set-up for girls, which will deliver courses free of charge to the participants. At the same time, the classes for fee will be set-up for general public to allow covering expenses related to the course and upgrade of kits when needed.
This model can bring several benefits – making interesting programs available for children in Telavi and making them accessible for girls. To ensure cost optimisation, the courses are planned to be based in the Center for Civil Engagement, which offers space for optimal cost and infrastructure.
Equal gender opportunity:
The project specifically targets girls to improve their access to STEM educational opportunities and will offer courses for girls free of charge. At the same time, the courses will be open for boys as well, and the tuition fee will be calculated so that they cover only instructors salary and rent, and hence, will be much lower than in cases if the course is offered based on a commercial bases.
|Simple and Powered Machines of Lego Education||
Lego Simple and Powered Machines enable students to learn the basic mechanical principles improving their hands on understanding of mechanics. The program is designed for 8+ years old students, and encourages development of engineering design and technological skills.
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