“Technology has played a dominant role in education throughout this pandemic that has exposed deep digital and gender divides”, said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education. “Now is the time to empower girls with the confidence and skills to harness technology and support their schools and communities to build back better and differently.”
UNESCO's Global Education Coalition partner, Technovation, is launching the Technovation Idea Lab today. The Idea Lab is a place where the global community comes together to pilot test new programme ideas and approaches with a select group of students, volunteers, and Technovation staff. It will be key to understand how to slow or stop learning loss for students when they are out of school.
First pilot targeting girls
The first Technovation Idea Lab pilot starts today 27 July and will run until 28 August 2020 in partnership with UNESCO's Global Education Coalition and learning organizations around the world.
The pilot focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) and will engage girls aged 10-18 living in Brazil, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan. While participation is free, all participants and volunteer leaders must have the ability to access Google Classroom on the internet. Interested? Register here.
Participating girls will learn what AI is, how it works, and make a plan for an AI invention that solves a problem they will have identified in their community. They will also learn how to build their own AI model.
The goal of this pilot is to empower and support girls in self-directed technology entrepreneurship programmes while also involving industry mentors to serve as role-models and further engage girls throughout the multi-week programme.
Girls will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from mentors around the world and other students from their country.
Based on interest and availability, mentors will help answer questions as girls work through the curriculum and share learning resources, hold office hours to connect with girls and provide insights about career prospects.
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has also donated micro:bits, devices with open-source software that teach creativity and coding, to girls who will have made exceptional contributions over the five-week programme.
"A recent UN report warned that girls and women are in the crosshairs of this pandemic,” said Tara Chklovski, CEO and Founder of Technovation. “We are proud to be partnering with UNESCO, as well as community and corporate partners all over the world, and are committed to doing all we can to support vulnerable groups and ensure the progress humanity has made in education and equality are not wiped out.”
Many factors impact girls’ education and learning, especially as they are exacerbated in moments of uncertainty such as the COVID-19 pandemic. “Providing girls with interesting, project-based curriculum that empowers them to contribute to and lead change in their communities using technology is one way to combat the harmful impact this pandemic is having on education”, said Chklovski.
“Our collaboration with Technovation under the Global Education Coalition opens the way for girls to be creative leaders and have a say in shaping more inclusive and gender-responsive education systems for the future”, said Giannini.
Partner organizations for the pilot include Edufun Technik, CRUIZ BIZ, Brainfacio, Data Science Nigeria, Odyssey Educational Foundation, and Godigitech in Nigeria, Safaricom in Kenya, the Pakistan Science Club in Pakistan, Instituto Paramitas in Brazil, and Scientax, Icommunity, Mentoralia AC, and Instituto de Innovación Mentes en Movimiento in Mexico, as well as dedicated individuals leading the programme in their local communities.
At the peak of the pandemic, over 1.5 billion learners around the world have seen their education disrupted due to COVID-related school closures. Under UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition, a Gender Flagship was established to safeguard progress made on gender equality and education and promote girls’ and women’s empowerment in and through education.