Kerala, India, Feb 19 (Reuters) India has launched a summer school for girls and women in a bid to reduce the gender gap in science and technology.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) said the programme, called Kannadi, would begin in Kerala this month, and would also be expanded to other states.

“Kannadi is a program designed to help girls learn and excel in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and mathematics related subjects in a safe and nurturing environment, so that they can reach their full potential,” WCD said.

“In a time when gender gaps are widening across all sectors, and when many women do not have access to quality education, this summer school is a way of bringing the best in girls to the forefront of the world’s learning opportunities,” WCA chief executive Sharad Yadav said in the statement.

The Kannada word for summer school means ‘to go to school’ or ‘to study’.

The WCD has partnered with the Kerala government to launch the programme and aims to get the first 500 girls enrolled in the school in February 2019.

It has been a priority of WCD in the past.

The programme has so far been approved by the state government.

The WCA has partnered up with the state education department to develop the curriculum and teachers.

The programme will be launched in three phases, with each phase providing four months of lessons.