Lenovo South Africa has embarked on a partnership with the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to prepare young female learners for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) and beyond, by teaching them coding and robotics skills.
Working with the university’s Department of Information and Technology, Lenovo South Africa said it is advancing efforts in bridging the gap in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field and launching the Robogirl 2022 programme.
The launch of the Robogirl 2022 programme was attended by the Kwa-Zulu Natal MEC for Education Mbalenhle Cleopatra Frazer, underscoring the importance of such an investment for the learners.
The initiative will see over 120 girls from 15 schools in grades 10 and 11 from the eThekwini area – particularly from historically disadvantaged communities – being exposed to the concepts of coding and robotics.
It is also expected to culminate in a competition between schools, which will allow the various teams to witness their peers’ innovation and different approaches to the same challenge.
Yugen Naidoo, general manager of Lenovo Southern Africa, said Lenovo is extremely passionate about upskilling women and female learners in the technology arena and helping to bridge this gender gap.
“Both in South Africa and indeed around the globe, men continue to outnumber women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ﬁelds, particularly technical ﬁelds such as engineering and computer science.”
“We believe the most innovative solutions can’t be created without diverse perspectives and therefore we are investing in such programmes,” he said.
Ebrahim Asmal, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Technology and programme coordinator, said there is a gender disparity in the STEM workforce as well as at higher education across the globe.
“Decreasing the gender disparity in STEM fields will provide more opportunity for women to generate fair income, as well as encourage professional and productive environments for women.”
“Not only this, but the engineering industry can also tangibly benefit from an increase in gender and racial diversity because a workforce made up of varying genders and minorities creates team dynamics conducive for better problem-solving,” Asmal said.