Research has found that 54% of girls can imagine themselves pursuing a career in one of the STEM disciplines. The study among 1,000 Irish girls and young women between the ages of 11 and 18 concentrated on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and was carried out by Microsoft, the results of which were released to coincide with the Hour of Code campaign.
The research shows that girls reject the idea that boys have a natural aptitude and superior skills in STEM, with 60% of Irish girls disagreeing with the jibe “I will never be as good in STEM subjects as boys.” 50% of girls feel that there are encouraging role models out there, but 44% stated that when they picture a scientist, engineer or mathematician they still picture a man first
Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD, took part in a Minecraft Hour of Code event at Microsoft's offices in Sandyford that brought together Microsoft, CoderDojo and sixth class students from St. Olaf's National School, Sandyford in advance for the global Hour of Code campaign taking place this week.
Speaking today Giustina Mizzoni, Executive Director at CoderDojo Foundation. “The Hour of Code is a campaign aimed to engage all students and introduce them to coding. With this campaign we aim to dispel stereotypes associated with the tech industry, provide access to relevant role models and get young people excited about the endless possibilites available to them when they learn how to create using technology.”
Microsoft is supporting the campaign by inviting every school in the country to take part in a free Minecraft Hour of Code on Wednesday, December 7th at 11am. Microsoft is delivering a tutorial through Skype and schools can log on to www.microsoft.ie/HourofCode2016 to sign up to take part. Those who can’t make that time can download the tutorial for free and take part at a time that suits at Code.org/Minecraft.
"I hope that next week all schools in the country take the opportunity to engage students on one of the free tutorials Microsoft is offering" - Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education
Minister Bruton praised the efforts, “The success of the CoderDojo project is a fantastic example of the benefits of teaching coding to young children – hugely popular with children, it teaches creative problem solving skills in a manner that engages and excites them. I believe that we must learn from successful programmes like this to improve the experience and outcomes of the education system for our children.”
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, was in Dublin earlier this year calling for governments and educators to pursue STEM education policies to help ensure digital literacy and target youth underemployment in future generations.
"The secret to long-term success is the youth unemployment rate. If jobs of future are broadly going to be around STEM ... Computational understanding and fluency will be important in every walk of life" - Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft
Speaking at today's event, Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland reinforced the comments by Mr. Nadella and encouraged participation by local schools and educators.
“The research findings we have announced today show us that girls at age 11 are interested in STEM subjects and we have a five to six year window to nurture this interest. It’s our responsibility to engage with girls at a primary school age and continue to deliver the message to them around the opportunities a career in STEM disciplines can offer. The introduction of coding into the secondary school curriculum in 2019 is a step in the right direction however we now need to begin to look at how we engage earlier at a primary level and with more regularity. I hope all schools, parents and teachers will support the Hour of Code campaign and help students across the country to take part in the free Minecraft tutorial we have created.”
“We’re partnering with Code.org and CoderDojo again this year for the Hour of Code to make coding more accessible to hundreds of students in Ireland and help more young girls nurture their interest in technology. Schools across the country are invited to join us in participating in the Hour of Code, which is the perfect opportunity to give coding a try for the first time.”