Initiative aims to expand educational and career opportunities available to girls in Dublin 8
The Digital Hub and Teen-Turn, the national charity dedicated to providing teen girls the opportunity to gain hands-on STEM experience and the support to acquire qualifications and jobs, have launched Teen Turn+ in an effort to address the digital divide in advanced scientific and technology skills within second level education.
Teen-Turn Plus is a new pilot project, taking place each week from February to May and August to November at The Digital Hub, which will provide hands on exposure to advanced scientific and technology topics in AI, physics and object-oriented programming. The initiative is open to Teen-Turn participants attending secondary school in Dublin 8 or whose home residence is nearby.
Data from the Dept of Education from the 2020/21 academic year found that only 20% of girls’ secondary schools offer computer science, while research from the State Examinations Commission showed that 14% provided physics in Ireland in 2019. The Higher Education Authority found that 86% of male students study practical subjects during senior cycle including engineering, building construction, design graphics and technology. Less than 5% of girls in secondary schools nationwide study these subjects at all.
Teen-Turn Plus aims to expand educational and career opportunities available to girls by introducing future-of-work learning that advances their competencies and develops confidence in their command of subjects which typically have a higher male representation.
Girls may enter science and technology courses with the same points as their male peers, but many, particularly those from underserved areas, are already behind due to little experience in engineering, physics and object-oriented programming languages.
A primary aim of Teen-Turn Plus is to level the playing field in science and technology education in Ireland, with an initial focus on Dublin 8. Equality of knowledge when it comes to STEM subjects is a key factor in combating dropout rates in the third level and delivering a more balanced and diverse workforce for the future.
Joanne Dolan, Teen-Turn co-founder, said: “Leveling the playing field in the transition from second to third level education has never been more important as careers in STEM continue to see the highest demand from graduates. Teen Turn Plus is aiming to expand the horizons of girls in second level education and increase equal participation in STEM subjects.”
Fiach Mac Conghail, CEO of The Digital Hub, said: “Equality, diversity and inclusion is an important part of our operations here at The Digital Hub, and it has been a pleasure to work with Teen-Turn over the years in ensuring that EDI in education is delivered to schools in our area. Teen-Turn Plus has great potential in levelling the playing field in STEM education and I look forward to seeing this pilot develop.”
Teen-Turn Plus will run, with Friday and Saturday classes with a focus on AI, app development and thermodynamics, until the end of November 2022.