Imparting digital and entrepreneurial skills
According to the European Commission's Women in Digital Scoreboard 2021, only 33% of STEM graduates and 20% of ICT specialists are women. From a purely economic point of view, an increased proportion of women in the market for digital skills would bring an additional 16 billion euros to the European economy every year. The EU-funded Girls Go Circular project aims to reduce gender gaps in these sectors. To this end, the project offers European girls aged 14 to 19 the opportunity to further develop their digital and entrepreneurial skills while at the same time gaining knowledge about the Recycling to acquire.
Since its launch in 2020, the Girls go Circular project has reached 26.000 girls at more than 700 schools in 12 European countries. This means that more than half of the goal of training at least 2027 female students by 40.000 has already been achieved. There are also plans to extend the project to all EU member states in the coming years. Girls Go Circular has also been available at German schools since this year. All content was translated into German for this purpose.
The learning platform “Circular Learning Space”
As part of the project, an online learning platform called Circular Learning Space developed. All learning modules in the Circular Learning Space not only impart digital skills. They are designed to also raise awareness of the challenges of sustainable extraction, consumption and reuse of natural resources. The learning modules cover a wide range of topics and industries. This includes Raw materials, manufacturing, mobility, Food, health, climate or information technologies.
Through learning-by-doing, the curriculum engages students in hands-on individual or group activities. The practical approach motivates to find solutions for the critical social problems of our time. In the circular learning space, learners engage in activities such as planning social media campaigns, creating app mockups, or developing business plans.
Currently, students can choose between 15 learning modules with different levels of difficulty - intermediate, advanced or expert. Later this year three new modules will be introduced with a stronger focus on deep tech and a higher level of difficulty. This ensures a wide range of learning materials.
Support by and for teachers
The teachers play a crucial role in the implementation of the project. They dedicate lessons or organize extracurricular workshops. The German teachers are supported in the implementation of the project by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research JUNIOR non-profit GmbH. To make the teachers' work easier, the project team offers helpdesk support. That will be shortly teacher handbook of the project must be available in German. It contains detailed guidelines, tips and tricks, and alternative activities to implement each module.
Girls Go Circular and zdi.NRW
The contact between zdi.NRW and EIT Raw Materials, the organizer of Girls Go Circular, came about thanks to zdi.NRW's membership in the EU STEM Coalition. The Europe-wide network of national STEM platforms is also supported by EIT Raw Materials. The EU-STEM Coalition is in contact with the European Commission and is looking for new ways to promote extracurricular STEM education. Since 2020, zdi.NRW has been committed to promoting young talent in the MINT field not only in North Rhine-Westphalia, but also throughout the EU. The initiative serves as an important link between the zdi regions and other MINT regions and projects in Europe, such as Girls Go Circular.
To learn more about Girls Go Circular, visit the Project website. If you are a school leader or teacher interested in participating in the project, please contact the Girls Go Circular team at firstname.lastname@example.org.