Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Grooming female scientists and engineers of the future

Girls in science classroom
Parktown Girls
Stories about inspiring women and girls are always great to share! We got an email about Parktown Girls who are grooming female scientists and engineers. We have a Miss that only has a few years (3 years eeek!) before she also has to decide what direction she is going to go with regards her career and her subjects. How do we prepare girls like her to choose a career in STEM?

South Africa is in desperate need of qualified scientists and engineers. Compounding this, only 11% of engineers globally are female according to an article published by UNESCO in October 2017.  This is a worldwide phenomenon, despite a rising global demand for qualified science, technology, engineering and, maths (STEM) professionals.
Tracey Megom, Principal at Parktown High School for Girls, says the idea for a Science Centre was born 15 years ago, but the school initially struggled to come up with the money to build it, so parents started fundraising and looking for partners. Anglo American helped them with their dream by a multi-million Rand investment that is already impacting this skills gap.
Following Anglo American’s contribution, the construction of two conjoined laboratory and classroom facilities for life sciences, physics and chemistry began in 2015 and the science centre was opened in late 2016 to the school’s 1 100 pupils. Its effect was almost immediate: 30% more Grade 9 girls chose the sciences as matric subjects.

Parktown High School for Girls is a government high school in Johannesburg that serves a diverse grouping of girls across class, race, and culture, and happens to be one of Gauteng’s province top-performing schools. It boasts a consistent 100% matric pass rate and achieved a 97% Bachelor Degree entrance rate in the 2017 matric results.  The school has been acknowledged by the University of the Witwatersrand as its top feeder school.

Tracy Megom answers a few questions, about herself and how to inspire young girls.