Delivering digital and entrepreneurial skills through the circular economy
Starting from 2015, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated every year on 11 February to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality in science, speaking to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5.
The Cross-KIC Girls Go Circular project is doing its share in contributing to reducing the digital gender gap by empowering girls aged 14-18 in Southern and Eastern Europe to develop their digital and entrepreneurial competencies while acquiring knowledge on the circular economy. The project supports Action 13 of the European Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027) – Encourage women’s participation in STEM.
Girls Go Circular started in 2020, in the middle of the global pandemic that forced most of us to learn how to work and learn remotely. Under the coordination of EIT RawMaterials, the project developed a dedicated online platform to host a tailored learning course on digital skills and the circular economy and, in November 2020 kicked off a pilot phase to gather feedback from students and teachers. More than 1700 students, including over 1200 girls, took part in the pilot in six countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Serbia.
It was fantastic to see the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm of the teachers and students that participated in the pilot phase. The outstanding feedback received motivates us to do even better in 2021, and to offer our unique online learning programme to as many students as possible.
Alberto Terenzi, Cross-KIC Education Project Manager at EIT RawMaterials
The online learning platform developed in the framework of the project – the “Circular Learning Space” – offered the students the option of choosing between different learning modules on topics such as metals, plastics, sustainable fashion, or electronic devices. The modules are based on a learning-by-doing approach, transferring knowledge and skills through an interactive, challenge-based structure.
It was a very interesting project. I learned many things about online safety that I didn’t know – like the importance of terms and conditions, privacy settings or strong passwords.
The Circular Learning Space offers the participating students the opportunity to:
- Acquire knowledge on the circular economy;
- Improve their digital and entrepreneurial skills;
- Gain insights into the steps taken by businesses towards the circular economy;
- Come up with their own solutions to societal and environmental challenges.
I think it was a very interesting programme. We, young people, will be responsible for caring for our planet, and we must know and learn all the damage that our actions are causing and find appropriate solutions.
Several teachers and students have expressed interest in continuing to use the platform beyond the project’s pilot phase and to integrate the learning modules in their school curriculum. This shows the value of the project and its potential to transform the traditional ways education is conducted in schools.
I think it was a positive experience that gave me the opportunity, in these difficult times, to meet and see new faces, with whom to collaborate to create something of our own. If the opportunity arises, I will participate in the project again.
The project will see its full implementation and biggest impact in 2021, when around 8 000 secondary school girls in eight different European countries will be empowered to use the online learning platform, develop their digital and entrepreneurial abilities and become the change-makers of tomorrow.