An array of sensors, batteries, motors, and cables lies before wide-eyed students in a classroom in Moldova. These children see the opportunity to build, tinker, and explore. But for educators, this is a long-term investment in the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals.
Information technology (IT) is a rapidly growing sector in Moldova and employs more than 20,000 people. Yet with fewer students studying STEM in university, there is a shortage of skilled STEM workers.The Moldova Competitiveness Project (MCP), funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics, is creating opportunities for young learners to experience STEM in the classroom and potentially as a career.
In partnership with the Moldovan Ministry of Education, MCP is introducing STEM in Moldova’s classrooms through educational robotics. Robotics captivates students with the exciting and hands-on application of science and coding. Across 76 educational institutions and seven libraries in Moldova, MCP is implementing RoboClub, an educational robotics initiative that brings real-world engineering challenges to the classroom.
MCP also supported the Association for IT Development to organize the second edition of the GirlsGoIT Summer Camp in July 2016. With guidance from professional mentors and trainers, 40 girls from 10 Moldovan localities received training in web applications development and basic IT skills.Catching children at a young age is key to creating a lifelong interest in these topics: Students who have early exposure to robotics are twice as likely to major in science or engineering. With these early experiences as part of their academic portfolio, students gain the skills, resources, and passion to confidently pursue STEM careers.