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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Tuesday 11th February signifies the International Day of Women and Girls in Science; a day recognised by the United Nations to celebrate the critical role women play in Science and Technology and to encourage more girls to choose careers in these fields.

Women In Science at BIS HCMC
“The world needs science, and science needs women and girls.” United Nations

Research suggests that although abilities between girls and boys in Maths and Science are not significantly different, less than 35% of students graduating from university in STEM subjects are women.

At the British International School Ho Chi Minh City we are actively encouraging all our children, regardless of gender, to engage with STEAM subjects. From the age of 4, all children are actively engaged in a variety of Science and Technology based projects that help ignite curiosity and interest in these important subjects. Whether they are visiting the Secondary Campus to conduct their own Science experiments in the labs, making their own rockets or constructing their own wind up car,  there is no doubt STEAM plays an invaluable part in helping children develop into effective learners.

Women In Science at BIS HCMC

As children move into the primary and secondary schools at BIS, the options for developing skills and interest in the STEAM subjects are enhanced further. The British curriculum already puts Maths and Science at its core. However, as a British international school, we have adapted the curriculum to suit the 21st Century learner. No longer are subjects taught in isolation; instead, we take an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. Our students explore the leading edge of STEAM subjects using an MIT-inspired model of learning.

The MIT-Nord Anglia STEAM Programme enables our students to learn from MIT researchers, scientists and experts at the forefront of these fields, as well as taking a hands-on approach to problem-solving. This is through in-school STEAM challenges such as MIT Hack the Tube or Wearable Technology and specialised teaching to create engaging experiences such as how to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Outside of the classroom we also offer a myriad of opportunities that aim to ignite our students’ passion in STEAM.

STEAM Week @ MIT saw 4 students fly to Boston to join 25 other Nord Anglia Education students for a unique five-day long event packed with STEAM-related challenges, learning and adventure at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The students interacted with MIT professors and researchers in activities that exposed them to the leading edge of scientific exploration.

Women in Science at BIS HCMC

One of our stand-out co-curricular activities on offer for students interested in STEAM subjects is the F1 in Schools global educational initiative. We are currently the only school in Vietnam to offer this programme which sees a group of Upper Secondary school students design and manufacture the fastest miniature F1 car possible, emulating the design and engineering processes employed by real F1 racing teams.

Victoria Fethke, Design Engineer in the 2018 F1 in Schools team is now in her first year at the University of Pennsylvania studying Physics and Chemistry. When talking about the F1 in Schools programme she said, “I am on the Rocket Team for Penn Aerospace Club where we engineer rockets for competitions and I have found that having CAD/FEA/CFD experience through the F1 in Schools programme has been extremely useful. It has made me a competitive applicant for joining selective clubs like these. I’m so glad I did F1 in Schools and don’t think I would be here without it!”

Women in Science at BIS HCMC

At BIS HCMC, we continue to see an increasing number of girls like Victoria choosing further study in the Maths and Sciences once they have completed their IB Diploma in Year 13. From our Class of 2019, we had a total of 37 students choosing related pathways for their higher education in fields such as Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience and Engineering. Of these, just under half (46%) were girls.

STEAM Coordinator at BIS HCMC Mr Luke Dyer explains why it’s so important that we continue to encourage participation in STEAM for every student;

“Ada Lovelace, Cecelia Payne, Dorothy Hodgekin, Elizabeth Garret Anderson, Sophie Germain, Sally Ride and Marie Curie; seven names that should be known to us all, but are not. 

We shouldn’t need to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, but unfortunately, we do, as many female achievements in the Sciences have been overshadowed and far too many young women have not been allowed to enter careers in the sciences due to antiquated gender bias.

We need to constantly provide opportunities and inspiration to the young women in our schools in all areas of STEAM and the Sciences so that we do not just close the gender gap, but remove the concept that gender has any part to play in becoming a Scientist, Astronaut, Mathematician or whatever the youth of today aspire to be.”

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Our Approach To STEAM

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