The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Wednesday said it hoped to encourage female students to enrol in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects through the implementation of Cambodia’s first female-only “coding club”.
The project, named Sister of Code, will be implemented in collaboration with the STEP Computer Academy, and aims to introduce female students in Cambodia to first-stage coding, computer game development and web development.
Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post that the Sister of Code project will encourage Cambodian women to participate in the male-dominated STEM fields and equip themselves with invaluable coding skills that are in increasingly high demand.
He said that the coding school will provide a free six-month programme to girls aged 10 to 18.
“This coding school is an after-school programme that requires them to spend once a week coding for 2.5 hours. The programme will last for six months."
“During the testing period, this study programme will be taught at the New Generation School at Preah Sisowath High School and Hun Sen Serey Pheap High School [both in Phnom Penh]."
Fifteen female students from each school will be selected for the programme,” she said, adding that the project will commence on February 15.
Soveacha continued that the ministry will work in collaboration with STEP Computer Academy to equip the training with specialised teachers at both schools, and train the participants to be teaching assistants so that they can later teach as part of the project.
STEP Computer Academy managing director Natalija Rodionova heralded Cambodia’s first female coding club as a unique opportunity for women in the Kingdom.
“During the programme, the girls will learn the principles of algorithms through visual coding, game development and web development."
“We want to encourage female students to consider digital skills for their future and develop the confidence that they can make it in the STEM fields,” she said.
Rodionova continued that she believed the project had the potential to raise interest in STEM fields among Cambodia’s female students, who currently have extremely low representation in technology fields in the Kingdom.
“We believe that the only female coding club has the potential to be a good platform for sharing and cooperation, as it is based on the idea of sisterhood,” she said.
Rodionova said that participants will learn invaluable digital skills, so even if they do not become programmers after leaving school, they will have knowledge of programming and will be able to apply these skills practically in any area of interest.