During the recently completed NGO Conference at United Nations Headquarters, New York, the Girls Education initiative Ghana participated in a panel discussion entitled: “Gender Equality in Girls and Women Technology Education in Developing Countries" The panel included: Elizabeth Akua- Nyarko Patterson, Founder & Director Girls Education Initiative of Ghana (GEIG) and Edward Ballen, Director Rwanda Education Assistance Project , It was moderated by Robert Bernstein, Vice - President & Board Member Girls Education Initiative of Ghana (GEIG –US, Inc.) and an Editorial Consultant / Journalist.
The panel was sponsored by Girls Education Initiative of Ghana (GEIG); The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI).
As the developing world makes a directional change to begin synthesizing the Sustainable Development Goals, it becomes apparent that education remains an extremely important aspect of any developmental success. The system of education increasingly relies on technology for delivery of its product.
At the same time there are quite a few disparities when it comes to delivery of education to the girl child. According to a UNESCO report of October 2013 the following statistics should be considered:
There are still 31 million girls of primary school age out of school. Of these 17 million are expected never to enter school. There are 4 million fewer boys than girls out of school • Two African countries have more than a million girls out of school: Nigeria there are almost five and a half million, and in Ethiopia, over one million girls out of school.
There are far larger disparities when it comes to the education of a child especially a girl child with any type of learning difficulty.
Slow education progress for children today will have lifelong effects: Almost a quarter of young women aged 15-24 today (116 million) in developing countries have never completed primary school and so lack skills for work. Young women make up 58% of those not completing primary school. Nearly two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female.
When we look at the disparities we also learn that there 200 million women w/o internet access. In Sub Saharan Africa there are far fewer women with internet access than men , while the need for technology grows in everyday life for example in banking and bill payment.
As such, it becomes absolutely necessary to have technology integrated into the curricula that we ensure girls are given opportunities to learn these new subjects and thereby benefit from the employment and jobs that will ensue from the application of SDG schemes throughout the continent.
Our discussion today will center on education of the girl child especially when it comes to technology. Additionally, we will discuss how to tailor these curricula and programs to meet the need of the girl student that is challenged in school.
In the developing countries, girls and women, especially the physically and developmentally challenged, severely lack education in technology. The Girls Education Initiative of Ghana represents a unique and successful NGO pilot program in how to overcome these deficits. The Rwanda Education Assistance Program is another example of combining technology education with social emotional development, academic performance and a nurturing learning community. Level Up Village is connecting students globally, empowering them to use technology to solve real life problems together. Gender equality is the overall goal.
One of the more interesting programs to develop worldwide technology education is “Level Up Village”. Level Up Village facilitates global STEAM collaboration through video message exchange. During the course students will engage in 1-to-1 video letter exchanges with their Global Partner student. These guided exchanges will help introduce and investigate knowledge objectives while letting the kids come to know each other and their respective cultures on a personal level.