By Emma Okonji
Five Nigerian students drawn from secondary schools across the country tested to be tech savvy, have been selected to represent the country at the next First Global Robotics Olympics in Dubai this October.
The students – Kosi Ugoji, Isaac Ibidun, Gbemileke Ogunrayewa, Sonia Bendrewere and Toluwaniyin Ojo-Osagie were selected from a try-out session with over 50 secondary schools in attendance.
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 Challenge 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 the world.
This year’s theme ‘Ocean Opportunity’ draws attention to the critical issue of ocean pollution to educate everyone on the need to take action to preserve oceans and wildlife. The theme promotes collaboration and cooperation among teams, to solve some of the world greatest problems. Each team will be required to build a robot that will join forces with other robots from other teams to take out pollution from the ocean.
Managing Director, Aramex Nigeria, Faisal Jarmakani, co-sponsor of the First Global Olympics, said: “Our continued sponsorship of the First Global competition is a testimonial of our believe in Nigeria and the Nigerian youth. As a nation with a growing youth population, this platform will further catalyse our potential to solve our own problems and some of the world’s greatest challenges using technology.”
Describing the opportunity as “life changing” Jarmakani said: “This is the third consecutive year we are sponsoring Team Nigeria and we have seen remarkable outcomes in the lives of these students and champions. Majority of them have received scholarship opportunities to top universities in Nigeria and abroad. We believe they will use the knowledge acquired to shift the needle on economic technological advancement.”
CEO, Roboglobal Educational Consulting and National Coordinator of the programme, Mrs. Remi Willoughby, said: “In Africa, we need children than can think and collectively file solutions to their problems. By guiding these children to develop the skills to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, Africa and indeed Nigeria, will learn to solve its own problems by itself. This is the only way we can compete evenly in a technology driven world.”
Jarmakani hinted that the decision to co-sponsor the project with his brother Omar Jarmakani, was based on the need to encourage Nigerian youth to embrace technology and robotics.
Pending when the competition will commence in October, select students will be taught the rudiments of robot design through tutorials in maths, physics and engineering including programming especially using Java, carried out by competent instructors.
Nigeria placed 25th of the 163 teams from 157 countries, and third from the 41 African countries in attendance at the first First Global Olympics in Washington DC, USA in 2017.