Twenty teenage girls were trained in computing technology in Jamaica last week, as the Caribbean country intensified its efforts to narrow the gender gap in its booming ICT sector.
In the month-long camp, the girls were taught various techniques including how to build their own websites using the programming language html, animation methods and the creation of software applications.
The Jamaica Coalition of Services Industries (JCSI) organized the event, which was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). At the event, instructors from GSW Animation Inc explained various methods of animation.
Last year, a study conducted by the JCSI found women accounting for just 12% computer science graduates in the country, a significant decrease from the 1984 figure of 37%.
Though there are few computer graduates, women make up 25% of the Caribbean country’s computing workforce.
“From all indications the coding program has not only been exciting and interesting but equally rewarding and productive,” reacted Industry Minister Ffolkes-Abrahams.
A large number of students have been equipped with tablet computers in Jamaica as part of Tablet in School program. Recently, it is encouraging female students to form groups among themselves to challenge each other’s proficiency in the subject.
With the aim of becoming the Caribbean’s leading ICT hub, Jamaica is investing a lot of money in the sector. It has built several technology parks and funded telecom programs to roll out high-speed Internet.
In September last year, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) lent the government US$62 million to bolster ICT infrastructure. The nations is home to more call centers than anywhere else in the Caribbean.