Director of the National Council on Science and Technology (NCST), Charles Cyrus wants to see more girls involved in Computer Science in schools across the island.

Speaking last Friday at the start of a training session in coding for students at St. Alban???s Primary School, Mr. Cyrus said he shared the same view as Christine Murakami, Head of the visiting delegation from Columbus Girls??? School, in Ohio, which is providing the computer training.

Ms. Murakami, the Computer Science and Technology teacher, had earlier stated that her primary objective was to get girls everywhere involved in Computer Science, as they were under-represented.

Agreeing that this was actually a global problem, Mr. Cyrus said: ???It is a problem in Barbados that we don???t see as many girls getting introduced to or interested in Computer Science. It is also kind of peculiar. We have girls going to do Computer Science but they don???t end up in careers in Computer Science. I think based on the fact that you want to increase the numbers going into Computer Science, you have to start somewhere.

???In addition to that, we know that we are moving towards a knowledge-based society ??? a society in which information and communications technology (ICT) is very pervasive, everywhere, and the need for it will continue to grow.???

Alluding to the training at St. Alban???s, he said it was better to prepare students at the earliest for what they would encounter in the world of work.

???In terms of computer coding there are some generic things that you get to do, such as problem solving, team work and critical thinking ??? putting things together – and those are skills and competencies that are required generally in the knowledge-based society. So, you are building those skills and competencies from as young as possible and hopefully it goes throughout the school system.???

The project with Columbus Girls??? School is an initiative of the NCST, and its key objective is to demonstrate how ICTs can be integrated into the classroom to improve problem solving, while facilitating efficiency and productivity.

This week will see Ms. Murakam, and her team continuing to expose the Class Threes and Fours at St. Alban???s to the use of the XO Touch laptop tablet computer in the classroom.

They will be provided with instructions on the features and capabilities of the system, following which students will design and execute a Social Studies project for Barbados??? 50th Anniversary of Independence.

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