Girls and Technology: Why Not?

 

While girls in Kosovo’s schools achieve success in many subjects, they are under-represented in higher education science and technology courses and few girls show an interest in pursuing science and technology careers when they graduate primary school. Gjylizare Fishta, a  teacher from the “Gjergj Fishta” School in Pristina says that the main reason for this is …

“A lot of theory and no practice in our schools…”

USAID’s Basic Education Program in Kosovo is working to improve the entrepreneurial and workforce skills of students in higher primary grades by providing equipment and teacher training to enable more practical technology-related activities in schools.

On International Women’s Day, March 8th, the program invited forty-four grade 8 and 9 girls from eleven schools to experience various forms of educational technology and engage in a design challenge approach to learning.

Gjylizare was one of the teachers who brought students to the event. She commented,I can see the excitement in my student’s eyes here today. One of my students even pulled out her cell phone to film the equipment to show them to her friends and her technology teacher.”

Following the intense engagement of the students with the technology, each group selected a representative to express reflections on their experience. One of the key themes to emerge was their appreciation of hands-on experience. One of Gjylizare’s students expressed the girls’ excitement:

 

“I love the Design Challenge technology, the electric motor with the battery experiment! Our Physics teacher brings his own equipment to class sometimes, but this here is all new to us. These sorts of activities should take place at least once a month, so that all students can get a chance to see and experience what they’ve learned in practice. Thank you for doing this.”

 

 

The day ended with a “Careers in Technology” panel of Kosovo professional women, including the Dean of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Faculty, the Executive Director of the Kosovo Banks Association and a recent MBA graduate.

 

USAID’s Basic Education Program, in partnership with local municipalities, is equipping model 21st Century technology rooms throughout Kosovo, which are designed with the active involvement of female teachers and students.