“Girls in ICT” for Uva Province was held on 30th September 2016, from 8.30am to 1.30pm at Visaka Girls High School, Badulla. Representing the province, 52 students from 10 schools who are studying ICT for their GCE Advanced Level and 10 teachers who oversee the ICT stream in those schools participated. The event was organised by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) in calloboration with the ICT Branch of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Provincial Education Department (PED). Mrs. Tharalika Livera, Deputy Director of TRCSL commenced the program with a brief introduction of “Girls in ICT”. Programme. Afterwards, Mrs. Manohari Fonseka, the principal of Visaka Girls High School informed the students and teachers who were present about the importance of hosting such events. Then Mrs. Livera went onto give a speech on “ICT for National Development”. She further stated that, out of the 7 million employees in the ICT sector in the world, only 30% are women. Even from that, only a few number of people are engaged in executive decision making. ICT industry realized the gender imbalance in their field around 2000. Although it was realized that this needed a massive change it did not happen for different reasons and she further elaborated on those reasons. An escalation of the woman’s role in ICT is still outdated due to stereotypical old concepts like ICT is not an appropriate field for women, they are jobs for men. Furthermore, the reluctance of schoolgirls to learn computer science in school or the fact that there are lesser female role models in the field are more reasons for girls not to pursue a career in ICT. Research has found that ICT usage in early stages of a child’s education has contributed to his/her future success in the field. In the last period, according to statistics, 37% of young girls showed an interest in computer technology while boys had a 63% interest rate. Although now that massive gap is being reduced because of the trend towards a greater percentage of girls being interested in pursuing a career in ICT.
Mrs. Livera further encouraged the students to not to abide by the social myths that ICT is a hard, boring and highly technical field for women and to change their attitudes and expand their horizons so that they can be just as successful as men or possibly even more, in this sector. She also informed the audience about the IT sector employment and classified it under two categories (software and hardware) and explained the nature of the job, as well as what aspects of skills the students should optimize to seek employment in this sector.
The girls were given an assignment to develop a project under the following topics during the course of three months with our assistance and eventually upload it to this website especially created as a platform for them to showcase their work.
- Business Analyst
- Software Engineer
- Web Developer
- Graphic Designer & Videographer
TRCSL gifted the students and teachers a Flash Drive. A token of appreciation was awarded by TRCSL to teachers and students for their participation, and certificates were awarded for all the students, teachers for taking their time to be present and fully cooperating to make the event successful.