News on ICT in Education

March 2014 | UNESCO Bangkok Office

Highlight: STEM, Women and ICT

According to UNESCO GMR Report (2012), low participation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) remain as challenges to contend with. Considering the significant links of science education to the creation of knowledge economy, this gender disparity in STEM education becomes a big concern both in developed and developing countries. According to a report featured in this issue (Girls in STEM and ICT Careers), the proportion of women who earned computer science degrees has dropped from 37 % in 1985 to 18% in 2014. Only 22% of software engineers at tech companies are women. UNESCO highly values the importance of supporting women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through a variety of initiatives, such as l'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Program and supporting Member States to develop gender sensitive curriculum and teaching guides for Science and Math.

This newsletter edition, featuring “STEM, Women and ICT” as the main theme, introduces readers to interesting resources and related projects of UNESCO and beyond. In addition to the aforementioned UNESCO projects and initiatives, we hope that readers enjoy reading about UK’s STEMNET project (on STEM network to facilitate young people’s employability), an insight from OECD on the possible root cause of girls’ absence in STEM occupation, APWINC’s initiatives with Andean women (using ICT as a tool to empower women to promote Andean women’s participation in digital economy), Tech Age Girls project (engaging women in intensive training in ICT for academic and professional achievement), to name a few.

As always, ICT in Education team would welcome and appreciate readers’ sharing of insights, feedback and comments.


What’s at the root of women’s absence in STEM occupations?
Girls and women have made genuine and enormous gains in education and in the labour force over the past half century; but as long as girls continue to tell themselves that they’re no good at math – or science or engineering or any other subject where men have traditionally dominated – even in the face of hard evidence to the contrary, then we’re still losing half of our talent to the destructive power of stereotypes, as stressed in this article published by OECD.

Who are the Tech Age Girls?
The Tech Age Girls (TAG) programme encourages and develops skills of promising young female leaders by providing them with specialized IT training and opportunities to engage in critical public discussion.

News and Events

New research on girls’ transition to STEM in higher education
The latest results from international assessments show that the gender gap in mathematics and science performance is closing between female and male students. But what can be said about girls’ transition to study STEM subjects in higher education?

Five exceptional women honoured for scientific excellence
On March 19th the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO presented the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science awards to five outstanding women scientists. Each woman represents a unique career path combining exceptional talent, a deep commitment to her profession and remarkable courage in a field still largely dominated by men.

Early "Science" is vital for girls
On 12 March, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova gave the opening remarks and moderated the high-profile side event entitled "Good for equality, good for the economy: Getting Girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)", held in the framework of the 58th CSW Session in New York.

International Girls in ICT Day
International Girls in ICT Day is an opportunity for girls and young women to see and experience technology in a whole new light. It is also an initiative backed by ITU Member States to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs). International Girls in ICT day will be observed on 24 April 2014

UNESCO and Samsung announce partnership
UNESCO and Samsung Electronics joined forces to give students in the developing world access to better education. Under a partnership agreement, UNESCO's education expertise will be combined with Samsung's Smart School facilities and solutions to support the Organization’s Mobile Learning Initiative.

iCTLT, the International Conference for Teaching and Learning with Technology
iCTLT 2014, the fourth in the series, will be held from 7th April to 10th April 2014 in Singapore. Since the inaugural conference in 2008, iCTLT, the International Conference for Teaching and Learning with Technology, has witnessed vibrant participation with the rich exchange of knowledge and insights amongst educators, researchers, policy-makers and industry partners in the field of educational technology.

Programmes & Projects

STEMNET – Creating opportunities to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
This UK based network provides opportunities for young people to meet inspiring role models in STEM careers, understand real world applications of STEM subjects, and experience hands-on STEM activities that motivate, inspire, and bring learning and career opportunities to life.

Innovative strategies for Andean women’s participation in digital economy
The Asia Pacific Women’s Information Network Center (APWINC) has identified the need for expanding educational and economic opportunities through utilization of ICT to promote Andean women’s participation in digital economy - especially for Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador.


Girls in STEM and ICT careers: The path toward gender equality
ICTs shape our world. But even though ICTs touch almost every aspect of modern life, girls are steering clear of careers in science and technology at a time when their talent and perspectives might serve as a foundation for IT innovation and improved quality of life potentially for billions of people. This paper takes a look at a crisis that is brewing worldwide, and offers a number of recommendations for getting girls interested in STEM.

Why so few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
AAUW’s 2010 research report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics presents in-depth yet accessible descriptions of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers — including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities — that continue to block women’s participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Reach Out Toolkit
The Reach Out Toolkit is aimed at managers and coordinators of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) formal and informal education projects. It can help to awake stakeholders’ interest in STEM project results and facilitate their use.

⇒ Download all articles in one document (pdf, 830kb)



Readers Corner

This is your space! If you wish to make comments or suggestions on the featured articles or any ICT-related issues, please send your thought and contributions to our editors: Let your voice be heard!!

Jim Dator’s excellent article on “Education fit for the futures” touched upon many interesting notions concerning the purpose and design of universities. These issues are directly related to the forms ICT in education may take in the future. Educators and administrators, at all levels, should take into account the four “generic” futures – growth, collapse, discipline, and transformation – when designing ICT curriculum and policy.  Emphasizing the business uses of ICT may be more important when the “growth” future is likely, whereas the social connectivity potential of computers could be more relevant to the “discipline” and “transformation” futures. ICT is not a miracle tool that can prepare students for all of the alternative futures just by being in the classroom. Instead, programs must take into account which competencies will be valued in each future. By understanding what the future might hold, informed decisions can be made about desired and expected outcomes of uses of ICT in Education. Taylor Bradley, United States

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The opinions expressed in the documents included in this newsletter are those of the authors and editors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of UNESCO, nor of any particular Division or Office. All rights to the resources included in this guide remain with their respective copyright owners, as indicated for each resource.