Quest Alliance and IBM launch ‘ Hackathon ‘ for 1.2 Lakh Girl Students in Karnataka

• Over 1.2 lakh high school students in Karnataka will benefit from this future – forward initiative designed to nurture a STEM mindset among young girls .

• Some of the projects taken up by the students in the pilot phase include a sanitary pad disposal machine , sanitary pad dispenser , smart Covid detection mask , mobile controlled voice guide for elderly , and forest fire detection systems , among others .

7th September , Bengaluru : Quest Alliance and IBM today announced the launch of its ‘ Hackathon ‘ programme to promote scientific thinking and build a STEM mindset among girl students in rural Karnataka .

The initiative will reach 1.2 lakh girl students from 800 High schools across the State a three – year period . In the first year , the Hackathon will cover 68,272 students in seven districts : Chikkaballapura , Bengaluru , Hassan , Chitradurga , Raichur , Gadag and Yadgir .

Addressing a press conference here today , Aakash Sethi , CEO , Quest Alliance said , ” As technology and digitisation continue to shape career opportunities for young people , a STEM mindset will be the key to empowered futures and careers for young girls . This initiative aims to counter prevailing gender stereotypes by encouraging girls to engage with , and discover their own potential within STEM ( Science , Technology , Engineering and Mathematics ) disciplines . “

Teachers from the 800 identified schools will be trained to handhold students through their Hackathon projects . A Hackathon consists of three stages – students participate in an ‘ Ideathon ‘ in the first stage , where they discuss ideas and their practicability . In the second stage , students are provided with a basic technology kit consisting of sensors , batteries , wires etc. , and are connected to mentors and experts who help them develop their ideas and build prototypes . These prototypes are then showcased to other students and the larger community in the third stage .

The Hackathon model is designed to take students through the entire lifecycle of a project- from identifying the problem , establishing a problem statement , visualising a solution , execution and feedback . More importantly , it makes STEM fields relevant to the lives of young girls , as they are able to identify day – to – day problems within their community and develop a tech solution for them .

Speaking about the project , Neha Parti , Director- Schools Programme , Quest Alliance , said , ” During the pilot , we observed that girls lacked confidence in their ability to work with technology . By the end of the project , there was a shift in their confidence levels and their abilities to solve problems . They saw themselves as innovators . “

In the pilot phase conducted by Quest Alliance , around 1000 students from Karnataka went on to build their prototypes as part of the Hackathon . Forty of these solutions were later selected for the ‘ Inspire Manak ‘ awards .

The Hackathon initiative is part of IBM’s STEM For Girls initiative , which aims to empower young girls with the right skills and mindsets to negotiate better careers and futures for themselves . Manoj Balachandran , Head of CSR , IBM ( India and South Asia ) , said , ” Hackathons are a great way to kindle curiosity and nudge students towards solutions for problems they see around them . Our pilot in Karnataka has resulted in over 1000 ideas from students where 40 of them also got selected for the National Ideathon challenge called MANAK , proving that all you need is a trigger and a platform for the young minds . ” – 9341997936)

City Today News – 9341997936

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