Today, Lenovo South Africa has embarked on an exciting partnership with the Durban University of Technology, which will 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 is advancing their efforts in bridging the gap in the STEM field and launching the Robogirl 2022 programme.
The Robogirl 2022 programme 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. The programme will culminate in a competition between schools, which will allow the various teams to witness their peers’ innovation and different approaches to the same challenge. Lenovo is also a Bursary sponsor at DUT for IT related courses.
Lenovo’s vision of providing Smarter Technology for All is focused on empowering under-represented communities with access to technology and STEM education. With a mandate to diversify the talent pipeline in Southern Africa by increasing and cultivating interest in STEM, Lenovo believes in breaking the barriers to entry when it comes to access to technology and education overall.
Yugen Naidoo, General Manager, Lenovo Southern Africa said: “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. Lenovo is extremely passionate about upskilling women and female learners in the technology arena and helping to bridge this gender gap. We believe the most innovative solutions can’t be created without diverse perspectives, and therefore we are investing in such programmes.”
The launch of the programme was attended by the Kwa-Zulu Natal MEC for Education, Ms Mbalenhle Cleopatra Frazer, underscoring the importance of such an investment for the learners. The Durban University of Technology was represented by the Prof. Keo Motaung (DVC(RIE), Prof O Olugbara (Exec Dean), Dr J Wing (HOD: IT) and others.
Mr Ebrahim Asmal, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Technology and program 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, produces better overall business management, and reflects today’s increasingly differentiated customer base, all of which leads to improved business performance.”
Yugen Naidoo added: “At Lenovo, with programmes like Robogirl 2022 and others, we aim to play our part in helping to address this gender disparity, and let young girls and women see for themselves the possibilities of entering the IT space as a career and be empowered to enter the jobs of the future. We look forward to seeing the short-term and indeed longer-term positive results of our investment in Robogirl 2022 and wish the Durban University of Technology and all the learners on the programme every success.”