Learning coding to decode profession stereotypes

UNICEF and UNDP empower over 150 girls and boys with the ‘superpower’ of coding in 2021

Lusin Mkrtchyan
Աղջնակը նստած է այգում նստարանին և աշխատում է իր համակարգչով։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan
21 October 2021

Coding as the golden skill for the future

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as adoption of technology increases. Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence in that time. Naturally, science, technology, engineering, and math STEM education has become more and more important in that sense over the years. It helps students to not only improve their ability to use technology, but to also develop their skills in problem solving, critical thinking, adaptability, communication and teamwork, enabling them to excel in many industries. In an environment where boys are more likely to be encouraged to take up STEM classes and pursue a career in that field, STEM education is especially important for girls, as it gives them the confidence, freedom, and tools to offer their own solutions to issues along with boys.

Նվարդ Մանասյանը վկայական է տալիս աղջնակին։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan

“Coding gives young people important life skills. It opens up the possibility to solve problems and understand the necessary sequence of steps that need to be taken for that. When boys and girls are equally involved in all areas, the society has more equitably distributed resources, more intelligent workforce, hence more gross domestic product,”

said Nvard Manasyan, UNICEF Gender Equality Officer.

Eva Artashesyan, Yeva Stepanyan, and Nare Davtyan are participants of Accelerator#5 programme, delivered by UNICEF in partnership with UNDP Impact Aim Venture Accelerator.

Եվան նստած  համակարգչով աշխատում է։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan

Mathematics, curiosity and perseverance are at the heart of everything

“My sister Ani is seven years older than me. This year she started learning programming, and I realized that I want to be able to use the computer like her. It seemed to me that programming is the most exciting, but the most difficult thing in the world, and I was not mistaken,” tells Eva Artashesyan, a 12-year-old graduate of the Accelerator#5.

“I loved mathematics and computer games from a very young age. If I have at least some free time, I spend it on either computer games or math. Math is my world, and I am one of the best in class,” Eva shares proudly. “I am the most active during this class, unlike other classes.”

Eva is most interested in coding. She says that every time she looked at the computer, she always thought the same thing, after all, how are these programs and games created? When she started participating in Accelerator, she immediately understood that mathematics and curiosity are at the heart of everything.

եվան ընկերուհուն ցույց է տալիս համակարգչի աշխատանքը։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan

“During this programme I was able to create an animation based on a fable, as well as a game. I created a math game to master the multiplication table. This game can be played by everyone, it is installed in Scratch program. It was so interesting to realize that it is possible to create something on your own, which can be used by others,”

says Eva happily.

Although she was first offended by her friends who said that programming was for boys when they learned about her new passion, Eva got plenty of support from her parents. They were happy that their younger daughter was also interested in programming. They cheered for Eva’s authored game and her story about a skilled hedgehog.

“But I am very stubborn, you see, I was able to convince my friends that there are no separate professions for boys and girls. To all girls of my age, I would advise to not be afraid to challenge opposing opinions. If you really want to learn something, you must focus on that, regardless of gender.”

Աղջնակը թռնում է ջրափոսի մեջ։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan

Its like magic – you first draw it for yourself and then it starts moving

Yeva Stepanyan, 7, is the youngest and the most active participant of Accelerator#5. With the programme certificate in her hands and in her favorite rain boots, Yeva is jumping in delight in a puddle, telling us how she managed to turn a fairy tale into an animation, using Aghues program.

“One day my dad came and said, Yeva, let’s go and learn programming. My dad is also a programmer, he always does some work in front of the computer. I was silent for a while, I thought over and over again and I said, well, let’s go,” says Yeva.

During the classes, Yeva was most attracted by the opportunity to read new fairy tales and turn them into cartoons and animations. She learned to use Paint and Aghues programs. Yeva had to first draw it on paper and then use the programmes to animate.

 

Աղջնակը ուշադիր նայում է և ժպտում։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan

“It’s like magic, when you draw for yourself and all of a sudden, what you draw starts moving. Now I know all the “buttons” of the computer. Basically, I did everything alone, my dad only helped me to add music to it. At home, he always checked what I had done during the session. He was very satisfied.”

Yeva insists that creating games helped her become more independent and she decided to ask her father to find more of the same courses so that she can continue learning. She has not yet decided on her future profession. “Whatever I choose, I will also definitely become a cook so that I cook delicious dishes, even though all the chefs are big boys or old men. Maybe I will create a cooking game. As the world is already creating robots that understand taste, they will also need a game. My mum says that I should try to be a little more focused on what I do, and I try to, it’s just that the world around me is so interesting,” shares Yeva.

Աղջնակը նստած է այգու նստարանին։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan

You can learn everything on your own and teach your friends

Students at school #120 know Nare Davtyan, 12, for her signing and video making skills. Last year, she sang her own version of the Italian “Bella ciao” song in a short video clip on YouTube and recorded 24 million views. At that time, she thought she would become a singer but this year she is contemplating at new opportunities for growth.

“My heart is in music, but I also love programming very much. I have been able to use the computer since I was four years old. Now I already know how to use Scratch, Paint and Aghues programs. I write fables and turn them into games. My favorite fable is about a hedgehog. It’s about putting aside selfishness,” says Nare.

She enrolled in Accelerator#5 at the advice of her teachers. Nare’s wish is that all classes at school could be equally engaging for her and her peers.

Աղջիկը համակարգչով աշխատում է՝ նստած այգու նստարանին։
UNICEF Armenia/2021/Galstyan

“When I started learning programming, I became more self-confident, I started to understand what I do incorrectly on the computer and how to correct that. Sometimes I think that it might be worthwhile to become a programmer and a singer at the same time, breaking the stereotype that it is impossible to do both. Besides, I want to serve as an example to my friends, to show that you can learn and understand everything on your own, and even teach others,”

notes Nare.

Accelerator is an annual project implemented by UNDP ImpactAim Venture Accelerator and UNICEF, in partnership with the Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center and Enterprise Incubator Foundation.