Three secondary school students have been selected to represent Nigeria at the World Adolescent Robotics Competition holding in China from July 20 – 24.
This was following an invitation extended to them by the China Association of Science and Technology.
They are Tawakalitu Giwa, Oluwaseun Omotayo and Ayomide Adetunji, who were members of Team Nigeria to the First Global Robotic Olympics in Washington DC, U.S., in 2017, which was sponsored by Aramex and Doculand Nigeria.
The students were picked based on their outstanding performance at the First Global Robotic Olympics where Nigeria placed 25th out of the 163 teams from 157 countries, emerging third of the 41 African countries in attendance.
Meanwhile, five students will be representing Nigeria at the next First Global Robotic Olympics coming up in Mexico City this August.
Presenting the teams to the public in Lagos on Thursday, the National coordinator of the programme, Mrs. Remi Willoughby, who is also the CEO, Roboglobal Educational Consulting thanked the major sponsor of the teams, Mr. Faisal Jarmakani, the federal government and Anambra state government for their immense contribution to the competition.
She said: “Without any doubt Nigeria is slowly but gradually establishing herself on the map of technology developed nations. This may not be presently evident; however, it is an indication that progress is being made.
“We have the right talents to compete successfully on the global stage and move Nigeria to a technology advanced nation, but we need the right support and encouragement and to do this, we need to quickly address the evident deficit in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects) in our educational system.”
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Aramex and Doculand Nigeria, Faisal Jarmakani, who is also the co-sponsor of the First Global project in Nigeria, said the future of Nigeria is not in oil and gas or agriculture but in the youths.
He revealed that he plans to choose two more states each from the eastern and northern part of the country, while noting that this year’s selection was mostly done in Lagos.
“These children are building the foundation blocks for a technology advanced nation and in the next few years will become global icons paving the way for other children to follow.
“If they keep getting the right support and encouragement, without any doubt, we will soon join other countries of the world where science and technology have become the backbone of their economic development.
“We need to spread the word and continue to support this vision till states government begin to partner with us," Mr. Jarmakani said.
Jarmakani also hinted that the decision to co-sponsor this new set of students for the next robotics Olympics in Mexico with his brother Omar Jarmakani, is based on the need to encourage the youth to embrace technology and robotics.
According to Mrs. Willoughby, this year’s World Robotics competition focuses on how to use the instrument of robots to proffer solution to power (electricity) generation problems in Africa.
Founded by philanthropic inventor, Dean Kamen, to inspire a passion for science and technology leadership and innovation among the world’s more than two billion youths, FIRST Global provides the framework for an Olympics-style robotics event that drives home the importance of obtaining the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills needed by future leaders to overcome the greatest challenges facing our world – today and tomorrow.
It will be recalled that earlier in April, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo praised the effort of Team Nigeria to the First Global Robotic Olympics for their outstanding performance at the challenge.
He made the commendation while receiving the six-member team, their project Director, Mentor and sponsors at the Aso Villa, Abuja.
It is also worthy to note that Nigeria and Gabon are the only African countries invited to China’s World Adolescent Robotics Competition.