The National Robotics Competition finals was held on Saturday 10th February 2018 at Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Fajara main site. Five schools, Marina International, Gambia High School, Methodist Academy, SBEC International and SOS High School competed in the finals. All five schools were tasked to build a robot to mass produce vaccines, using Vex kits with a mentor from the 19th January 2018 to 10th of February 2018. The competition is designed to bring together schools to compete for the National Robotics Champion 2018.
The mentors provided advice, guidance, and technical assistance to the students as the worked on the competition challenges. Gilleh Thomas Lead Developer mentored SOS High School, Bankole Ahadzie Developer mentored West Africa International School, Abdoulie Kassama Trainee Developer mentored SBEC High School and Bai Lamin Dondeh Head of Data Management mentored Gambia High School.
After a tough final competition, Gambia High School won the National Robotics Competition. The school will represent The Gambia at the Pan African Robotics Competition (PARC) in Rwanda in March 2018. They will be accompanied by their mentor Bai Lamin Dondeh, Head of Data Management MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM.
The competition was co-sponsored by the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM and InSIST Global Ltd with the support of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST).
In delivering the welcome remarks, MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM Director Professor Umberto D’Alessandro gave assurance of support for the development of Science and Technology in The Gambia. According to Professor Umberto, engaging youth in capacity building and offering them exposure to a variety of learning environments is a step forward in opening avenues for a brighter future for the youth, and the growth and development of The Gambia.
Mrs Khadijatou Tambadou Jabbie, Coordinator of the competition said the objective of the initiative is to promote and encourage students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In The Gambia children perform poorly in STEM, primarily because at an early age they are not encouraged. There are very few students enrolled in science in high school and even fewer go on to do it in University. Engaging youth in capacity building, equipped technical skills, and exposure to learning environments, through national and international competitions will create different learning opportunities.