Queen’s College student Danille Isaacs, left, and St John’s College student Kaitlyn Micklewhite were two of the girls chosen from the government’s three-year Information and Communications Technology programme to participate in a one-day Girls Power Tech conference sponsored by tech giant, Cisco. The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) is facilitator of the ICT programme. Photo: BTVI
THE Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute recently joined a list of other countries encouraging girls and young women to consider educational and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
A one-day Girls Power Tech conference sponsored by Cisco was recently held at the BTVI New Providence and Grand Bahama campuses. Cisco is a worldwide leader in IT, networking and cyber security solutions.
Participants had the opportunity to interact with women who are technology professionals, who shared stories about their careers and their vision for a technologically advanced future. The girls were selected from students who are already a part of the government’s three-year information and communications technology (ICT) programme which is the brainchild of Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.
St John’s College high school student Kaitlyn Micklewhite, who is in her second year of the ICT programme, has already seen the benefits. “Not a lot of girls are exposed to IT the way we are being exposed. We are gaining lots of knowledge in cryptocurrency and blockchains, in basic IT, advanced fundamentals and in programming. It has helped me a lot in IT in school. It has been a platform to do better in the subject,” Kaitlyn said.
“The world is moving with technology and I want to be a part of the advancement and be able to contribute,” added the 15-year-old.
Danielle Isaacs also expressed how privileged she feels to be a part of the ICT programme, but also to have been selected to participate in the Cisco conference. “We’re learning more IT and working on blockchains…it’s really hard, but it’s fun. I feel lucky to be chosen to part of the programme and would like to use my IT knowledge in business,” said the Queen’s College student.
The girls in New Providence toured the data centre of Bahamas Power and Light, while those in Grand Bahama toured Cable Bahamas and the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC). There was also a video conference with Cisco representative, Monica Gomez.
BTVI’s Chair of Information Technology Anthony Ramtulla recalled when BTVI’s IT programme had about five females to now there being such interest in the IT field that the ICT programme has nearly 50 percent girls.
“I thank the prime minister for making this whole venture possible. This is his idea; BTVI is facilitating it. You are a seed that has been planted to move this country into a new era,” said Mr Ramtulla.
The ICT programme comes at a time when there is a wide gap in the number of males and females working in the IT field. According to Cisco, women comprise 27 percent of workers in the computer science, engineering and physics fields in some of the world’s emerging economies.
Last year, 123 students from private and public schools in New Providence were awarded certificates after completing phase one of the three-year ICT programme. There were 175 students combined between the programme in New Providence and Grand Bahama.