Guyana to host int’l robot competition next year

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Children at work during a robotics workshop

STEMGuyana has signed an agreement with the International Youth Robot Association (IYRC) to be the prequalifying body responsible for organising the annual qualifier national robot competition among local students to represent Guyana at the international competition.

STEMGuyana will work with public and private local partners to host the IYRC league pre-qualifier competition in Guyana in 2019. The competition is expected to attract more than 100 school teams, community centre clubs and other civil society organisations in the 7-12 years, 13-17 years and open categories of the competition.

Participation in the IYRC competition means that Guyana now participates in two global competitions, including the First Global competition in which Guyana sent two national teams to represent the country in 2017 and 2018.

The 2018 IYRC will be held November 30 – December 1 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, while the location of the 2019 competition in which Guyana will compete has not yet been announced. For the young people participating in the robotics league, the annual competition will be the culmination of months of preparation which will see students develop their technical skills while strengthening their communication, collaboration and critical-thinking skills.

Co-Founder of STEMGuyana, Karen Abrams, said Guyana’s participation will, for the first time, allow primary and secondary schools students and out-of-school youth in Guyana to join more than 100 nations in the world, whose youth are able to benefit from participation and exposure to robot-building and programming activities at the global level.
“Our young people will gain the confidence and expertise needed to excel at the global level and the early exposure will ultimately benefit student Maths and Science performance,” said Abrams.

“Our major challenge is to ensure that young people from all walks of life are able to participate — not just those whose parents and schools can afford robots, “said Abrams. To that end, she is asking private sector organisations to sponsor robot kits for clubs and schools in the communities in which their customers live.

“We also thank the Office Of The First Lady, GTT, the diaspora, the Department of Youth, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Telecommunications for their support in making the programme possible,” said Abrams.

Abrams went on to note that the STEMGuyana plan for 100 STEM clubs in 2019 was ambitious. However, with the support of the public and private sectors and the diaspora, she is confident that everyone would work together to ensure that Guyanese youth are allowed the same opportunities to prepare for the future that children in wealthier countries are given.

STEMGuyana will certify more than 50 STEM club coaches in October 1- 4, 2018 and plans a second session of another 50 potential coaches for the following week. Schools and clubs interested in participating in the national league in 2019 are encouraged to call STEMGuyana at 592-616-4454 or email stemguyana@gmail.com to register for the October 8-9, 2018 training programme.