Girls and boys must be introduced to STEM from a young age to encourage them to pursue a career in medicine, science or engineering.
Buk bilong Pikinini’s (BbP)Early Childhood Education program provides the children with foundations in numeracy, problem solving and various play-based STEM activities throughout the year. However, more needs to be done to foster future careers in ICT.
With the launch of “When I grow up – I want to be an ICT Officer” BbP believes that the reader will assist with motivating school children to demystify the different jobs and skills needed in the field.
This week 6-year-old Melanie, featured in the reader – and other BbP children got the opportunity to visit the NICTA Head Office together with David Valentine, the CEO of Niunet and IT Officer from BbP Philip Luke and Ridhard Bridger.
The children got to see IT equipment and asked questions about how it all works. BbP Executive Officer Leanne Resson presented David Valentine and NICTA with copies of the reader, which they can use in their work to promote the interest in ITC with young children.
David Valentine is featured as a role model in the reader and gently guides Melanie into what the requirements are when you would like to work in ICT.
BbP has published a series of books entitled “When I Grow up – I want to be a Teacher, – Pilot, – Store Manager, -Paramedic, – ICT Officer and – Farmer.
These new books were first launched during Book Week together with the Sir Brian Bell Foundation which has sponsored the printing and shipping of the readers.
Leanne Resson, BbP Executive Officer said: “We are grateful to our partners Niunet and NICTA for their support to provide the children with vital insight into the world of ICT. We are confident that the readers will inspire the children to want to pursue careers in this field. By seeing role models in action, the children will be able to understand that they too can aim for such careers despite coming from a remote village or urban settlement. We also hope that this reader will allow more girls to see themselves in an IT role in the future. If you can’t see it – you can’t be it..”
David Valentine, CEO Nuinet said: “It really is an honor to launch the Buk Bilong Pikinini “When I Grow Up” ICT officer series reader with NICTA, the government mandated body that deals with ICT in our country. This reader will encourage the next generation of systems, network and cybersecurity engineers to take up ICT at an early age, increasing their chances of building successful careers. Building better partnerships is how we inspire our younger Papua New Guineans to explore careers in ICT.
Ruth Nelson, NICTA Fund Manager said: “NICTA through the Universal Access Services (UAS) Regime is passionate about rolling out ICT services to remote and unserved areas of PNG. We target schools and communities in rural areas so to see Book Belong Pikinini promote careers in ICT through books for young children is such a positive step forward for this country. In PNG, ICT Sector is still predominantly a male dominated career choice, to promote female participation, NICTA has a Girls in ICT Tertiary Scholarship Programme. We hope to see Melanie and a lot of other girls become recipients of this scholarship and go on to have successful careers in ICT.”