The government of South Africa launched an intensive drive to harness and improve skills. Yet to study and become qualified in fields such as science, technology, and engineering means good grades are needed in math and science, subjects in which South African students do poorly: South Africa ranked the lowest of 45 countries that participated in the 2003 Trends in International Math and Science Studies (TIMSS) assessment for grades 4 and 8.
Girls are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to technical professions. They are not encouraged to study or do well in traditionally male-dominated subjects such as math, science, and technology. This compromises their future career opportunities and resigns them to lower-paying jobs.
The South African Department of Education, with UNICEF support, started the Technogirls mentorship program in 2005. The initiative, which is part of the Girls and Boys Education Movement, helps girls make informed career choices, with an emphasis on science, technology, and engineering.
Technogirls identifies high achieving 15–18 year old school girls from disadvantaged communities, especially those coming from rural areas. The girls are placed in corporate mentorship and skills development program where they also benefit from academic scholarships. Career mentorship is important as it helps the students link what they learn at school with the skills needed to succeed in the business world.
Many participants have received university or college scholarships as a result. There are now more than 6,000 Techno Girls in all nine provinces of South Africa. With UNICEF support, the Department for Women, Children, and People with Disabilities is scaling up the program nationally.
Click here to see full program profile
Model details2005Not-for-profitScience & engineeringVocational/technical skillsActiveLong-term projectDepartment for Women, Children and people with Disabilities8,000100%
Scale3952 girls had benefited from the programme by the end of the 2010
The South African Ministry for Women, Children, and People with Disabilities now drives the program and has called for the expansion of the program to all nine provinces.January, 2011