One woman’s resolve to bridge the gender gap in erstwhile “male domains” such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, has translated into a great empowering tool.
Aditi Prasad, a 33-year-old woman from Chennai is on a mission to teach robotics and coding to girl students from underprivileged backgrounds, who barely ever have access to such innovative and creative learning processes. There are seven programmes on now in Tamil Nadu under her initiative ‘Indian Girls Code’. Prasad traverses across the state to groom young girls in a way they can become innovators in the future.
She will be discussing her mission and experience at the ‘TEDxGatewaySalon: Breaking Barriers’ that would be held in NCPA, Mumbai on Friday. Prasad is a lawyer and has also done her post-graduation in public policy.
Speaking to The Hindu, she said: “Education is given a lot of importance in South India. When we tell the schools and parents about robotics, they show a lot of enthusiasm.”She co-founded Robotix Learning Solutions in 2009, which comes up with personalised and interactive learning methods through coding, robotics, app development, etc. She is associated with 12 schools at the moment. Students aged between three to 12 spare one hour every week for learning robotics.
Excited to share the platform with powerful women & be in Bombay for TEDx Gateway https://t.co/CfvQb1F4B8
— Aditi Prasad (@aditirao6) March 22, 2019
Prasad says: “The learning experience is designed to be developmentally appropriate. For example, younger children learn through simple crafts material by creating structures, learning addition, multiplication and subtraction. For some children, we have created digital tools and kits that consist of sensors and circuits, which they are taught to connect and generate sound, light or get a small fan to run.”
While Prasad was imparting special lessons at these schools, she observed that very few girl students took part in the activities. That’s when ‘Indian Girls Code’ was born. The first programme was held in a Trichy orphanage, where 75 girls are taught robotics and coding for free.She also pointed out that though India believes technological innovations and solutions, these fields are still treated like ‘extracurricular activities’; “therefore, it is important to expose children and equip them to take up such work in future,” Prasad said.