20 May 2017

Seychelles: Six Seychellois Students to Participate in Robotics Challenge in U.S. Capital

Photo: Joe Laurence/Seychelles News Agency
A robot kit was handed over recently to the team by the International First Committee Association through the local National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation.

Six secondary students from Seychelles will participate in an international robotics challenge in Washington D.C. in July.

A robot kit was handed over recently to the team in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, by the International First Committee Association through the local National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (NISTI).

The chief executive of the institute, Xavier Estico, told SNA on Tuesday that the "competition will use science to build bridges between high school students of different background."

The students -- Nellie Azemia, Frazer Nalletamby, Stana Mousbe, Damien Ernesta, Anil Buron, Shana Banane -- are from the Beau Vallon secondary school in northern Mahe, the main island. They were chosen for their knowledge and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and are collaborating with their science teacher, Kevin Dupres, to build and fine-tune their robots for the event.

The FIRST Global Challenge is an international robotics event where students from more than 100 nations will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate. Teams are composed of high school students with the goal of increasing their knowledge of STEM so they can become the next generation of scientific leaders who will work together to solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

Organised under the theme 'Access to Water', the students have to design a multi-functional robot that will resolve any issue relating to water in this age of time.

"Availability of water is a major challenge for the African region. Therefore, it is high time that we find alternative ways, which will boost the interest of our young generation to come up with innovative ways to help the world with its water problem," said Estico.

One of the participating students, Damien Ernesta, said: "The competition will help us to learn how to communicate, cooperate, and work together using the tools of science and engineering to find solutions to the world's grand challenges including the scarcity of water."

Ernesta added that he will use the competition as an experience to share with his colleagues at school and that "we will be able to see other scientific invention that we can present to the country when we come back."

The chief executive of NISTI told SNA that, "It is important for us to provide students at this age with opportunities that will increase their knowledge of STEM so they can become the next generation of scientific leaders, who will be ready to tackle global challenges."

"By bringing these future STEM leaders together, FIRST Global inspires students to learn the skills they will need to make the discoveries their parents and grandparents would consider miracles, impossibilities, or just plain science fiction," added the chief executive.

Estico also said that the country's education system should bring back STEM in all the schools in the island nation. NISTI is already aiming for science, technology and innovation club in each school.

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