CodePlus is calling on teachers, pupils and schools to sign up for its 2021 workshops to help address the gender imbalance in third-level computer science.
CodePlus 2021 launched today (28 April) to continue to help overcome the gender imbalance in third-level computer science courses.
The nationwide project will be rolled out by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre for software, with Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway and University of Limerick over the next two years.
Funded by the SFI Discover programme, its aim is to encourage young women in secondary school to engage with computer science and ICT.
Lero’s education and public engagement manager, Clare McInerney, said the initiative is a “powerful, non-formal outreach project encouraging adolescent girls to explore careers in computer science”.
“Women’s equal and meaningful participation in the digital society is seen as both integral to the realisation of women’s rights in the 21st century, as well as the realisation of a just, inclusive and rights-based information society and to achieve global objectives around gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2030,” she said.
CodePlus is delivered to students as a 20-hour course of coding workshops. It has been running since 2014. In the past five years, it has engaged more than 1,000 pupils.
Trinity College Dublin’s Prof Brendan Tangney, who helped develop the CodePlus programme, said that pupils who take part in the course are more likely to study computer science at college.
“It is wonderful to see these young women grow as the course progresses,” he said. “Selection of a computer science course on their CAO application became a real option for them but, more importantly, they felt they would be well able for a computer course.”
According to Dr Cornelia Connolly of NUI Galway’s School of Education, the percentage of all ICT undergraduate degrees awarded to women over the last seven years is “stuck at just 18pc”. And that figure is “a lowly 20pc for computer science courses” she added.
“We need teachers and students to sign up for CodePlus,” said Connolly. “Young women are missing out on great careers in computer science, and computer science needs more women designing for and with women; developing and leading the way.”
The organisers have invited any teachers, pupils and schools interested in the CodePlus programme to contact them at email@example.com.