Telecentre Europe Awards 2016 Entry: Best Practice

Capital Digital 

Geographical range: Brussels Capital Region, Belgium

Link: http://capitaldigital.be

 Contact person: Veronique De Leener  

1. BRIEF EXPLANATION

The Capital Digital project aims to reach two age groups: on the one hand, we want to train young people (aged 15+) in the basics of coding, but we also provide them with the necessary pedagogical skills to transfer this knowledge onto children. Our aim in the short term is to improve essential IT-skills of young people and to teach them the basics of coding. In the long term, we want to make disadvantaged target groups aware of the career paths that lead to jobs in the IT and tech sector – where they are currently underrepresented.

Activities:

- training (3x/year) for young people (15 to 25 years old) to train them as e-facilitators for the coding camps for children.

- coding camps for children (3x/year) where children learn the basics of coding and learn to make a simple app or game or learn to program a robot


2. WHY IS IT A BEST PRACTICE

The main challenge addressed by the project is a lack of people from disadvantaged target groups accessing STEM career paths and particularly IT-careers because of:

1. Inadequate education

2. Vicious circle of exclusion (gender and socio-economic situation)

3. Lack of "science capital" i.e. undetermined role and importance of science at daily life of local communities (negative stereotypes, difficult access to scientific knowledge, lack of its hands-on dimension and shortages in intersectorial cooperation)

So far we have engaged with hundreds of young people and children, encouraging to engage with IT in a fun, creative and engaging way. Research has shown that building their science capital will have a positive effect on young people’s lives – not just in terms of encouraging more young people to continue into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs, but more importantly, building science capital is a tool for social justice, to help improve people’s lives and life chances.

At the same time, we show the potential and enthusiasm of young people who recently became particularly stigmatized because of the neighborhoods they live in or their ethnic backgrounds. We believe the boost Capital Digital gives to their self-esteem is very valuable. The counter narrative against prejudiced media is equally important.

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