To promote gender equality through digital skills and creativity, a four-day Digital Literacy Hackathon programme for adolescent girls is underway in Gelephu. Students from six schools across the country and a youth centre are part of the programme. The Programmes and Youth Coordination Division of education and skills development ministry is organising the event in collaboration with Gov Tech Agency and UNICEF Bhutan.
28 girls from various schools are taking part in the programme at the Gelephu Youth Centre.
Seven ideas were selected from 43 entries.
The ideas range from automatic streetlights to solving drainage problems and smart water taps among others.
“Being in a boarding school, we have to attend evening studies. We have to walk from our hostel to the dining hall or class. It will also save energy. Moreover, when we are working on our model on automatic on and off streetlight, we learn many things. In the near future, it will definitely help us,” said Sonam Tshomo, a student at Buli Central School.
“They will get points for achievement. If they rank the highest in the class, they will get marks and money for that. If the student shows improvement, for example, for the first test they got one and in the next test, they got 2.5, for those improvements, we are also willing to give scores or certain money for improvement,” said Kinley Pem, a student at Ugyen Academy.
Officials from the Ministry of Education and Skills Development said through this programme, girls are expected to explore ways to address problems in their community using technology.
“When it comes to STEM areas, not many girls are taking an interest in these areas. So, we thought that it would be timely for us to empower girls and inspire them and motivate them to take STEM subjects,” said Amrith Bdr Subba, a deputy chief counsellor.
Besides the introduction to different aspects of digital literacy and technology, the participants will receive mentorship sessions to refine and finalise their ideas.
On the final day, the participants would pitch their ideas and the winning teams would receive funds to implement their ideas.