April 4, 2014—The Verizon Foundation, in partnership with the Institute of International Education (IIE), has launched a program to increase access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM education among Indian girls at the secondary school level. The program will provide 200 talented female students in Hyderabad and Chennai and their teachers with innovative tools for teaching and learning about science and mathematics, to prepare the girls for post-secondary education and careers in STEM fields.
This program addresses a critical need to educate girls and women in India, which experts agree is critical to the country’s economic development. India’s booming IT and Communications sectors have been deprived of potential employees because of girls’ limited access to high-quality STEM education.
Ten schools in Southern India have been identified to participate in the program. Girls from each school will participate in a year-long program of educational enrichment activities that include coaching classes and leadership training, extracurricular mentorship opportunities with Verizon employees, visits to Verizon R&D and production facilities, and assistance in developing a community support network. Girls will be selected to participate based on criteria such as economic need and their desire to pursue higher studies in STEM subjects.
“It is our goal to provide these promising young female students with the educational preparation and access to visible female role models and mentors that will encourage them to enter and succeed in the IT and Communications industries,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education and technology programs for the Verizon Foundation. “Increasing access to technology and leadership development will not only prepare the girls for the workforce, but will make a larger contribution to economic growth among these industries and regions within India.”
The teachers who are selected for the program will be trained in using education technology and creative learning techniques for more effective teaching. Both students and teachers will take part in leadership workshops to build communications and leadership skills and increase the girls’ confidence and academic performance. Their families will take part in activities related to developing educational and career goals. The program also will encourage local schools to adapt new technologies to improve the delivery of STEM education. The enhanced use of technology and advanced teacher training will benefit all the students throughout the ten selected schools as well as their communities.
“The secondary school period is a critical time for young women to gain life skills that prepare them for higher education and career success,” said Namrata Jha, director of the Institute of International Education’s office in New Delhi. “By providing educational access and career skills, we hope to prepare these talented girls to pursue academic or vocational training that will lead to opportunities in India’s high-tech sector.”
The schools participating in the program in Hyderabad include: Govt. Girls High School, Mahaboobia; Govt. Girls High School, Misaram; Govt. Girls High School, Lalapet Market; Govt. Girls High School, Nalagutta Old; and Keyes High School for Girls, Secunderabad.
The partnering schools in Chennai includes: TVR Girls Higher Secondary School, Avvai Home; Adyar Lady Sivaswami Ayyar Girls Higher Secondary School, Mylapore; Sri Sayee Vivekananda Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Kodungaiyur; St. Francis Xaviers Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Alwarpet; and Springfield Matriculation Higher Secondary School, KK Nagar.
About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company’s innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, health care and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit the Verizon Foundation’s website; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations.