“While it’s encouraging to see computer science GCSEs steadily grow in popularity, with entries up 2.4%, addressing the striking gender imbalance needs to be higher on the education world’s agenda. After all, it’s not a question of lacking the ability or enjoyment – girls have continued to outperform boys when they do take computing, and our experience shows female students enjoy computing as much as their male counterparts. Girls often have more choice in picking subjects at GCSE level, so it is imperative society better communicates the value and options digital skills give to women and young girls.
“If we’re to truly address tech’s gender imbalance, we need to start even earlier than GCSE. In primary schools, we are seeing progress. We know that the younger we can engage girls in technology, the better, and that tactile computing tools drive motivation to learn with all children and are very popular with this gender. Female primary school teachers, who make up most of the profession, are becoming increasingly positive role models in teaching digital skills, giving young girls the skills and confidence to pursue their computing education to GCSE and beyond.
If we’re to truly address tech’s gender imbalance, we need to start even earlier than GCSE. In primary schools, we are seeing progress. Magda Wood, chief of learning Micro:bit Educational Foundation
Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a not for profit organisation that works with schools and educators to implement the computing curriculum, aiming to inspire young people to take computing at higher education and address the imbalance between young men and young women.
Using a handheld programmable device, the BBC micro:bit, the Foundation works with tech companies like Arm and Microsoft to design and manufacture the devices, which are used in over a third of UK schools, including all Scottish primaries and secondaries.
For more information: Mirco:bit
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