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Expert makes case for robotics education in schools

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BY MUSBAUDEEN SHEKONI

The Director, PLEDGE51, a Lagos indigenous Mobile Development Company, Engr. Bayo Puddicombe has recently stressed the need to inculcate Robotics education, an aspect of technology that focuses on the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, into Nigerian school curriculum.

He said it captures several elements of critical thinking, programming, logic, artificial and intelligence adding, “ it is one of the ways Nigerians need to move this country forward into the 21st Century.

The call came as Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA), an initiative of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students, which seeks to train students in Robotics, held the grand finale of her annual robotics training course for 45 secondary school pupils from 14 states across the country at Grange School, GRA, Ikeja.

Engr. Bayo who radiated strong support at the initiative noted that the incorporation of the practical aspect of this brand of education into the Nigerian school curriculum will encourage creativity which will solve numerous societal issues.

According to him; “There are so many things that we do in this country that are aided by expatriate workers or companies but when you look at it and break it down to the basic components, they are stuffs that we could do ourselves if only we develop our capacities.”

The robotics training programme was presided over by a team of five instructors from MIT as well as three teaching assistants from Columbia University and University of Ibadan.

In the finale, participants competed with one another, displaying the skills acquired during the training. In the keenly contested competition, Team DBIG trounced other teams. The team comprising three members, Onyeahialam Gregory, SS3 student, Kings College, Lagos, Bio-IbogomoEbi, SS3-New Total Child Academy and Madueke Chidozie, SS2 student of Government College, Ughelli, used their robots to demonstrate how nano technology can be used to carry out bone transplant, by sending nano robots into human body to perform the surgery.

Also speaking, President of XRA, Mr. Obinna Okwodu, civil engineering student at MIT, said; “The reason for the programme is because we felt that there is a need for the Nigerian students to be taught how to think straight which is lacking in our education system. We understand that not all these students are going to be robotic engineers but robotic emphasizes three important things: problem solving or using a proof to solve problems in everyday life situations, it emphasizes creative thinking and also team work.”

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