Secondary school girls ready to shine at Girls Power Tech
Digicel Business Solutions and CISCO have partnered to present the Digicel Foundation Girls Power Tech 2019 on May 29. The inaugural event is meant to inspire Form 3 and 4 girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics through hands-on exposure to the latest technology and engagement with industry professionals.
The event, which will host six schools from across Trinidad, will allow students to learn from innovative women working in ICT and engineering fields, educational and career opportunities and even get mentored by female professionals within the local industry. The invited schools include Waterloo Secondary, Success Laventille Secondary, Gasparillo Secondary, Bon Air Secondary, El Dorado East Secondary, and El Dorado West Secondary.
Loop reached out to a couple of the participating schools to get some insight on the girls in the lead up to the event.
Are there any ICT programmes currently available at school? Have they participated in something similar?
Rihanna Abdul, El Dorado West Secondary: Outside of our IT classes, we do not have any IT clubs. However, the school previously took part in the Girls in ICT Hackathon and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
Neelasham Dipnarine, Gasparillo Secondary School: We’re currently trying to form a robotics club, we’re in the middle of fundraising at the moment. We’ve also partnered with RSC International in order to establish a computing club for the school.
How do the girls feel about the upcoming event?
Rihanna Abdul, El Dorado West Secondary: The girls are really excited. We don’t have an IT programme here but we have students who are really interested and excited about the fact that they can participate in something like this and possibly open the door for additional opportunities later on.
Neelasham Dipnarine, Gasparillo Secondary School: They’re actually very excited about this. Once they heard about it, they went out and gathered all the participants and came to me talking about how excited they are to be a part of this and how they can’t wait…they’re very self-motivated.
There is a lot of stigma around the potential of students coming from "non-prestige" schools. What would you say to this, especially in light of the girls participating in events such as these?
Rihanna Abdul, El Dorado West Secondary: We have a large population here and a lot of them are really smart, they just lack the chances and the opportunities because of the school’s name. Taking part in initiatives like this is a great thing because they get to see that these type of events are not just for prestige schools, they can also take part and be successful. They asked me which other schools were attending and when I told them, they were surprised that no prestige schools were on the list. They felt important to know that they were given the opportunity to be a part of something like this.
Neelasham Dipnarine, Gasparillo Secondary School: There are a few similar events like these and funny enough, a lot of the schools that we consider "non-prestige" have been the ones at the top of their game. Events like these have helped to level the playing field when it comes to academics, creativity and innovation, and the “non-prestige” schools are performing just as well as the prestige schools.
I’m certainly happy to see schools like ours shining because it gives motivation to similar schools and shows them that they have an opportunity to take part and even win in a space where prestige schools traditionally always win or take part.