Lenovo South Africa’s initiative Robogirl 2022 encourages young female learners to STEM
In an innovative collaboration, Lenovo South Africa and the Durban University of Technology will teach young female learners coding and robotics skills in order to prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and beyond. The Robogirl 2022 program is being introduced by Lenovo South Africa in collaboration with the university’s Department of Information and Technology. This initiative is aimed at removing the barriers to STEM for women in tech.
More than 120 young female learners in grades 10 and 11 from 15 schools in the eThekwini area, especially those from historically underprivileged communities will be introduced to the ideas of coding and robotics as part of the Robogirl 2022 program. The program will culminate in an interschool competition where the many teams will have the opportunity to see their peers’ creativity and unique approaches to the same problem. Additionally, Lenovo sponsors bursaries at DUT for IT-related courses.
The university’s Department of Information Technology (IT) will deliver the Robogirl 2022 training. 15 teams made up of five students each will be formed by the learners. Over the course of three and a half days of instruction, the teams will build and programme their own robots.
The latter two days will feature a competition between schools, and the teams’ objective will be to construct and program a robot to carry out particular duties. For the length of the training, a robotics kit will be given to each group. Through theory and real-world examples, students will acquire coding and robotics abilities as well as how to think critically and solve problems.
By giving underrepresented populations access to technology and STEM education, Lenovo South Africa hopes to fulfill its mission of delivering Smarter Technology for all through the Robogirl 2022 program. Lenovo believes in lowering the barriers to STEM field for more women in tech to entry when it comes to access to technology and education generally. The company’s mission is to diversify the talent pipeline in Southern Africa by fostering and growing interest in STEM.
Men continue to outnumber women in STEM fields, particularly technical ones like engineering and computer science, according to Yugen, General Manager of Lenovo Southern Africa. This is true both in South Africa and globally. Lenovo is very committed to closing the gender gap in the technology industry by upskilling women and female learners through the Robogirl 2022 program. Lenovo invests in these programmes because the company thinks that varied viewpoints are necessary for the development of the most innovative solutions.
The Kwa-Zulu Natal MEC for Education, Ms. Mbalenhle Cleopatra Frazer, attended the program’s opening and emphasised the significance of such an investment for the students. Prof. Keo Motaung (DVC(RIE), Prof. O Olugbara (Exec Dean), Dr. J. Wing (HOD: IT), and others from the Durban University of Technology were there.
There is a gender gap in the STEM workforce as well as in higher education all across the world, according to Mr. Ebrahim Asmal, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Technology and program coordinator. Well, that being true, women in tech will have greater opportunities to earn fair pay and will be encouraged to work in professional and productive environments if the gender gap in STEM disciplines is reduced.
A workforce composed of people of different genders and ethnicities also fosters team dynamics that are favorable for better problem solving, result in better overall business management, and reflect today’s increasingly diverse customer base, all of which contribute to improved business performance. As a result, the engineering industry can also see tangible benefits from an increase in gender and racial diversity.
With initiatives like Robogirl 2022 and others, Lenovo hopes to do its part in reducing this gender gap by removing the barriers in STEM and empowering young girls and women to experience for themselves career opportunities in the IT industry and to apply for future positions. We can anticipate that Lenovo South Africa’s investment in Robogirl 2022 will yield both immediate and long-term benefits, and hopefully young female students from Durban University of Technology and all of the program’s participants come out to be successful.