IBM, HT Code-a-thon  come together to bridge STEM gender gap

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With the onset of pandemic, our dependency on technology has increased manifold and the day is not far when coding will become the universal language of the future and subsequently, STEM will be a necessity. As per a data, India ranks high in the number of coders in the world. However, kindling passion for science and technology or STEM in kids is an area where we are behind others. 

One of the major reasons behind this is the school curriculum. Inclusion of coding in curriculum is limited to only a few private schools. Many schools consider it to be an outside classroom learning subject.

The gap widens when gender is taken into the picture. STEM is an area where gender disparity is glaringly visible both globally and in home. In India only women represent in only 14% of STEM jobs. 

To make coding more attractive and mainstream, Hindustan Times organizes an annual nationwide Coding Olympiad for children between Grades 4 to 9. The initiative aims to expand logical thinking, analytical reasoning, and problem-solving skills through coding amongst young students.  HT Code-a-thon gives students an opportunity to learn to code remotely and teaches them basic programming skills, with the freedom to build projects of their choice. With support from IBM, AIF and the DST, the 2021 edition of the HT Code-a-thon now spreads beyond cities to overcome class and gender barriers.   

This year, IBM – as an extension of its flagship CSR programme STEM for Girls - collaborates with Hindustan Times to extend the HT Code-a-thon to schools operating under the NVS or the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti.   

In 2020, IBM had collaborated with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to create a level playing field for meritorious girls to pursue STEM, called Vigyan Jyoti.  

With the support of IBM’s implementation partner, the American India Foundation (AIF), a holistic exposure to STEM is provided to students through interesting educational content and live science camps imparting hands-on experience and 21st-century skills. AIF also works to enhance the technical expertise of teachers and provides them with the tools to spark the curiosity and interest of children in the fields of science and technology.  

Manoj Balachandran, Head CSR, IBM India and South Asia, says, “The collaboration of IBM with HT Code-a-thon has been a great success in helping kids tap their creative spurt through technology. We are happy to extend this initiative by making HT Code-a-thon accessible to meritorious girls from grades 9 to 12 as part of the Vigyan Jyoti programme launched by the Department of Science and Technology. These will strengthen our STEM for Girls programme which aims to inspire girls of the next generation to embrace STEM learning.”



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