Twenty-eight-year-old Phuntsho Choden is one of 22 trainees on the UNICEF - funded 'train the trainers' programme which is empowering teachers to use the pi-top tools and education philosophy in 10 Youth Centres opening across Bhutan.
After five years of teaching, Phuntsho is now one of 22 young people undertaking training to be ready to work in ten new youth centres which the Government of Bhutan, in partnership with UNICEF and FABLAB Bhutan, are developing across the country.
Phuntsho explains, "the main goal of these Youth-Friendly Integrated Service Centres is to provide additional educational and training opportunities and to facilitate access to information in respect of employment opportunities, health information, and to other services, including entrepreneurial guidance. Especially to those young people who have dropped out of school or who have additional needs.”
And that’s where pi-top comes in. With her new found skills and confidence, Phuntsho wants to engage young people in learning how to use computers not simply as a medium to consume content but to help young people learn to code and start to create their own content and new projects. This she believes will “spark” their interest and desire to learn new skills.
Out of 22 trainees on this first course 18 were women, and as the country seeks to promote the Sustainable Development Goals – especially Goal 4 – Quality Education and Goal 5, Gender Equality, it’s great to see that this theory is being put into practice.
Phuntsho explains, “In these times, people tend to discriminate against women – especially in IT. But this project has shown us that the performance of women is very good; without realising it we are succeeding and are able to show other women that we too can use these tools and do a whole lot more.”
Over the course of three months the FABLAB Bhutan team trained up to 300 youths across Bhutan in using pi-tops.
I had never undertaken any programming before and was anxious. But Nanda and Stephen helped me see the value of these tools, and the training exercises were practical, and he helped all of us understand. If you don’t know it’s OK, we learnt together!
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