By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
The Gambia Senior Secondary School, GSSS, will represent the country in the Pan-African Robotic Championship in Rwanda.
Gambia High came out top in the National Robotics inter-schools competition after a tight contest against Marina International, Gambia High School, Methodist Academy, SBEC International and SOS High School.
The competition which brought together 10 senior secondary schools in the Greater Banjul Area was funded and hosted by the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with the support of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST).
Speaking at the event, the Coordinator Mrs. Khadija .M. Tambadou Jabbie, said the competition was designed to bring together schools to compete for a place in the Pan-African Robotics Competition, PARC, in Rwanda in March 2018.
“The competition was done in a two rounds form where 10 schools take part in the first round and eventually Marina International, Gambia High School, Methodist Academy, SBEC International and SOS High School made it to the second/final round,” she said.
She noted that the objective of the initiative is to promote and encourage students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, 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,” she stated.
She said to engage youths in capacity building, equipped technical skills, and exposure to learning environments, through national and international competitions will create different learning opportunities.
This, Mrs Tambadou added, is a step forward in opening up avenues to a brighter future for the youth and the growth and development of The Gambia.
The Director of MRCG, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, expressed gratitude to have hosted and funded the event, saying that supporting students to develop their education in science and math is part of MRCG’s mandate.
Whiles reassuring MRCG’s continuous support, Mr Umberto challenged the students to take their education seriously especially in the areas of science and math.
Meanwhile, the Director of science, technology and innovation, MoHERST, Mucktarr M.Y Darboe said his ministry is glad to be associated with the robotics program, “Because in everything one is doing now involves using science and technology in one way or the other.”
He said the competition will serve as an eye opener for government as there is no school in the country that is currently practicing robotics. He reassured his ministry’s unflinching support for the programme in the future.
Gambia High School as winners were handed a giant trophy and assured of representing the Gambia in the upcoming Pan African Robotics Competition.