In line with the International Day of the Girl Child, the Cape Town Science Centre (CTSC) partnered with Google to offer training on Artificial intelligence (AI) and Robotics to South African girls between the ages of 10 and 13.

The training, which is aimed at bridging the gender gap in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will provide a support system and an empowering environment to inspire girls. The initiative, it is hoped, will lead the participants to explore and foster their interest in potential STEM careers particularly related to AI and robotics and will offer insights into the real-world applications of AI and robotics. The participants will also be provided practical, interactive workshops that allow them to experiment in the captivating realm of AI and robotics.

“It is essential to make a conscious effort to give South African girls the opportunities and support they need to develop an interest in and pursue careers in STEM,” says Theresa Ely-Felino, coding and robotics manager at the Cape Town Science Centre. “We are particularly excited with the partnership between The Cape Town Science Centre and Google which is a promising step in bridging the gender gap in STEM.”

The initial training programme covered a range of topics including the basics of AI, introduction to coding, and how to build and program simple robots. STEM projects from other girls were also showcased to inspire the participants, and there were sessions on STEM career guidance.

The outcome expected from the STEM training is an increased awareness and interest among girls about AI and robotics, enhanced confidence, and motivation to pursue STEM-related education and careers, building a supportive community of girls interested in STEM and encouraging hands-on learning and creative problem-solving.

“Inclusion in technology is not only a matter of equity, but also a significant economic growth driver,” says Siya Madikane, communications and public affairs manager at Google SA. “Partnering with the Cape Town Science Centre (CTSC) is in line with Google’s commitment to support digital skills and create sustainable structures for tech education and inclusivity in South Africa.”