Finland is currently taking turns to train young girls in computer literacy as the country marks one hundred years of independence.
The Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury told Voice of Nigeria in Abuja that ten countries in Africa have been selected to give young secondary school girls free computer training from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The programme is tagged “a celebration of technology, learning and youth empowerment”.
The Ambassador said there is the need to pay a great attention to girl child education to bridge the gap between boys and girls especially in science and technology education.
“It is very important to plan the seed of new ideas when you are young. We want to do something specifically with the young. When we look at Nigeria or anywhere in the world and you look at the future of society employment education, it is about the young, they are very important elements of society. And Nigerian society is a very young dynamic, resourceful and we want to give a little push and encouragement to girls to pick interest in computer knowledge and technology”, she explains.
The girls are actually secondary students and the ambassador gives more insight as to why it is so “we have paid special attention to involving girls because still for the same reason everywhere in the world including Finland, girls do not get involved in technology and ICT as boys do and there is no reason it should be like that”.
One of the instructors, Irena Bakic from Aalto University in Finland, said women do have roles to ply in the development of society, hence there is the need to catch these young girls early enough when they are still in secondary school.
“Yes, this is catching them young”, she said, “and having them with great fun experience in technology . During the workshop, the learners create music with technology so they create a song and actually what they learn is programming language called ruby. So it is a way of teaching technology because the young people make music but actually what they are doing is to learn coding. So it is a very basic first step of understanding how coding works”, Irena explained.
Finland is noted for development in the telecommunications world. And Nokia also sent a facilitator, a Nigerian, Mr Larry Babarinde, to support the training and he told Voice of Nigeria that the Nigerian government is trying hard in terms of girl child education and emphasised Nokia’s role in terms of corporate social responsibility to Nigeria.
“we have noticed that girls are mostly under privileged users of technology and that is why the focus here is to start with the girls not just as a user alone but also as creator of technology. Nokia believes in the expansion of human possibilities of technology. This is just the beginning for the youths in Nigeria”, he promised.
Voice of Nigeria witnessed many of the sessions were the students were full of excitement over the training and said they would put the knowledge they got at the workshop for life.