The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IT Academy STEP Cambodia (STEP) to further develop the Sisters of Code project.
The project trains female students in computer programming, and enhances information and communication technology (ICT) textbooks and teacher capacities.
The Sisters of Code was first implemented as a pilot project at the Hun Sen Se Rei Pheap High School, the New Generation School and Preah Sisowath High School and catered to female students between the ages of 10 and 20.
Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Sunday that developing the ICT programme and basic textbooks was an effort to promote the quality of ICT education.
He said the goal of the new training plan “was to strengthen the teaching capacity in response to the digital education vision of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport”.
The signing ceremony was presided over by the ministry’s secretary of state Kim Sethany and the MoU was co-signed by the director of the Information Department Sok Tha and STEP managing director Natalija Rodionova.
Rodionova told The Post on Sunday that STEP trains the students free of charge.
Last year, she said 150 students joined the project. It was most of the students’ first experience learning how to code, but within 18 weeks, they were creating computer games and websites themselves.
She said: “Sisters of Code aims to empower girls to try learning technology and programming skills. Now only seven per cent of female students choose to study technology in Cambodia.
“According to our research, in most cases, female students are lacking a supportive space where they can learn technology and meet other students with shared interests.”
According to a ministry Facebook post on May 29, the MoU will expand the scope of the Sisters of Code project to target schools in provinces.
One of the first projects planned is to establish a study club at Pream Chikang High School in Kampong Cham province’s Kang Meas district.
Rodionova said it was very important to begin developing teachers’ digital skills, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the virus continues to keep schools closed around the world, demand for technology-based teaching has risen.
She said: “Our cooperation with the ministry is focused on digital skills development, as these are essential for any person nowadays, at least at the basic level. We have to understand that technology is a powerful tool with so many options to apply.
“We can achieve the best results if we teach people how to use the tools, as well as engage teachers in the creative process of how the tools can help them the best in their work.”