Campaign to recruit girls to engineering faculties
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|Name of Organisation:
||Budapest University of Technology and Economics
|Main implementing organisation:
||Budapest University of Technology and Economics – Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics BME/VIK
|Line of Business:
||Institutum Geometrico-Hydrotechnicum, the legal predecessor of Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) was founded in 1782, and it was the first institute in Europe to train engineers at university level. BME, as a prestigious Hungarian higher education institute is committed to differentiated, multilevel, high-standard education, founded on intensive basic training, research, development and innovation, and scientific qualification in technical and natural sciences and in certain fields of economic and social sciences.
|Number of Employees
|Employees in R&D
|Number of Employees in Top Positions
|Transferability of the initiative||Programme is considered to be transferable to another context|
|Type of initiative, located on the stage of career progression of women scientists||Pre-University|
Objectives of the Initiative
Short term objectives:
Double the ratio of female students at BME/VIK (it is presently 5% and the aim is 10%).
Influence the all-boy atmosphere of the Faculty with the aim to change the working culture to more “female friendly”.
Long term objectives:
Ensure workforce supply in professions where in some years the replacement of staff going into pension will become a serious problem (like among engineers)
Provide jobs for women where the balance between work and family life can be easier achieved (by distance work).
Produce female role models for girls in the area of electrical engineering and informatics.
Change the attitude of school teachers and directors and educate them to leave the stereotypes regarding the suitability of engineering profession for girls/women.
Which barriers in the career stages of females does the initiative address?
In Hungary the interest of young people toward natural sciences and engineering/informatics is becoming lower and lower. Moreover the ratio of girls among the students choosing such education and career is even lower, as engineering and informatics are thought to be unsuitable for women.
Demonstrable success of the initiative
The participants (both students and teachers) enjoyed the events and found it very useful. Altogether 13 info events were organised in the schools with a total of 4-500 participants. At the 21 laboratory visits altogether 250 schoolchildren took part. 60% of the participants at both event were girls (nearly 500 girls were involved).
Many positive feed-backs were received from the school directors and teachers. For example it was written that the stage discussion was held in a crowded hall. There were many questions to the lecturers who used a personal, authentic approach, and at the end they were presented by stormy applause.
During the popularising campaign scientific competitions were also organized for the schoolchildren with high success. In one of the schools 27 teams participated in the competition and the majority of the team members were girls.
As the initiative was started less than one year ago, no statistical data are available.
Motives for launching initiative
The number of students at engineering/informatics faculties is becoming lower and lower, as this profession is not in the centre of interest of young people.
With the negative demographic changes the pool of high-school students is becoming smaller.
Therefore it is essential for leading universities to find a new source of good students.
It was observed that the predominant male atmosphere of the Faculty is not healthy for the students (in general).
Equal opportunity measures in the organisation before the initiative
Target group(s) of the initiative
The direct target groups
High-school students between the age of 16-18 years, predominantly girls
The indirect target group
High-school teachers and directors
Implementation of the initiative
Who was responsible for conducting the initiative (function) and where was the initiative internally settled?
Györgyi Dallos, communication manager of the Faculty
How many people (men & women) conducted the initiative?
(Among them 17 university lecturers, 11 university students, 1 administrator, 21 school teachers)
What resources (time and money) were available to implement the initiative?
MONEY: EUR 2300
TIME: 6 weeks intensive work
How was the initiative internally managed and supervised?
The initiative was supervised by the vice-dean for education.
How was the initiative implemented, what were the steps to be taken? What activities were carried out?
The Pro Progressio Foundation, together with BME VIK announced a grant for high schools to conduct activities to facilitate the students in selecting the engineering career and attend BME VIK.
13 schools were selected which received funding to organize events where university students from BME VIK introduced the educational opportunities offered by the Faculty and the benefits of getting a engineer/informatic degree to high-school students (with special attention to the involvement of girls).
In the next phase 21 laboratories at 10 Departments of BME VIK received student groups of 10-12 pupils and showed the research work conducted there (Open Laboratory Scheme).
A colourful, easy-language publication to popularize the Faculty was prepared in 5000 copies which were disseminated in the schools and at the time of laboratory visits. It contained a section explaining why attending the Faculty would be beneficial for girls.
A small present (an integrated circuit with flashing lamps) was distributed among the students taking part in the events and visits (in 1000 copies). It can be used as earring by the girls.
How was the initiative accepted by the target groups?
The target group accepted the initiative positively. The children enjoyed the laboratory visits, and even asked for longer time to spend at the Faculty.
The teachers supported the initiative by taking actively part in the organisation of school events and accompanying the children to the laboratories.
Many positive feed-backs were received from the school directors and teachers.
Factors of success
The main factor of success was that the information to the children was provided by students, being close to the age of the target group. They were able to speak at a language understandable for the children.
The university students going out to the schools and the teachers hosting them received uniform preparatory material and training.
Obstacles, barriers to implementation
The info events can be organised also to younger high-school students, at the age when they choose academic specialization in high-school (15-16 years).
It would be useful to reach also the parents of the targeted children and explain them the benefits of selecting the engineering/informatics profession.
Longer visits in the laboratories can be even more effective and useful.
It would be good to involve as many female university students and lecturers as possible into the action, so that girls can see that there are already women at the Faculty. They can serve also as role models.
Benefit for the organisation
More students at the Faculty (and consequently more engineers and informatics experts for the economy).
Sustainability of the initiative
The initiative is continued at BME VIK. In 2010 they will announce again a possibility for high-schools to receive financial support with the aim to organize info events where the Faculty’s educational programmes, as well as the benefits of becoming an electrical engineer or informatics expert can be introduced to students.
They will establish an alliance which will be able to support and widen the initiative.
On the other hand there is a demand from high-schools for continuing the initiative.
In Hungary it was the first such initiative, although similar actions have already been conducted in other countries.
The initiative is transferable to any other faculties of BME and to other higher education institutions.
The initiative fits well into the general talent management programme of BME.
The higher management of BME considers it important to conduct measures with the aim to increase the number of students, especially the share of female students.
It is an innovative approach from a large technical university. Up till now no such actions to popularize individual higher education faculties have been conducted in Hungary. The initiative is also innovative due to the cooperation of the higher education and a non-profit organisation.
Monitoring / Evaluation
Summary: This initiative is good practice because...
This initiative is a good practice because organisations from the secondary and higher education sector started a joint action to increase the number of female students in a male-dominant area, with the future aim to provide highly educated professionals for enterprises.
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