An all-girls team, Metra 101 from FGGC, Ikot Obio Itong, Akwa Ibom State, emerged overall Champions at FIRST LEGO LEAGUE (FLL) National Robotics Championship Competition 2020 as the grand finale held in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja over the weekend.
They scooped the top position by embodying the program’s Core Values of teamwork and mutual respect while achieving excellence and innovation in both robot game and innovative project.
FLL was brought to Nigeria by Coderina Education and Technology Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation and supported by SAP.
Other winners at the Championship are as follows:
1 Robot Design (2nd) Award – Tech Gears X
2 Against All Odds Award – FGGC, Bauchi
3 Mentor/Coach Award – FGGC, Kabba
4 Core Values Award – Airol Unilag
5 Robot Performance Award – Bred Hub
6. Glistobots – Robot Design – Glisten School
7. Robot Performance (2nd) – FSTC Orozo
8. Project Award – Technobots – Vivian Fowler School
To this end, the Federal Ministry of Education, (FMoE), indicated that from next year all the 104 Unity Schools will participate in the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE (FLL) National Robotics Championship Competition.
Excited by the ingenuity displayed by participating students, the Minister of State for Education, Honourable Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, speaking through the Permanent Secretary, Arch. Sonny Echono, disclosed that plans are underway for all the Unity Schools’ participation.
The sixth edition under the theme: “City Shaper”, was organised by Coderina in collaboration with the Ministry and the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) with supports from SAP; National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA; Irish Aid and the Baze University in Abuja.
The Minister said that the decision to allow all Unity Schools’ participation is aimed at strengthening critical and computational thinking among students.
Children from 6 to 18 years numbering about 1000 and 50 teachers drawn from 60 schools participated at year’s national championship with FGGC, Ikot Obio Itong, Akwa Ibom State emerged overall champion.
The Minister said, “This marks a significant first step in our work in ensuring the infusion of Coding in our school curricula to strengthen critical and computational thinking as a key skillset that students in Secondary Education must have. This will ensure that we broaden the base by making sure that the opportunities of this preparation are made possible today even though the manifestations of the series of efforts we are making now will come tomorrow.
“Our efforts are in line with Ministerial Strategic Plans, the SDGs 4; which is provision of quality education for all…The world of today and that of the foreseeable future is one where individuals move between digital domains and offline reality with the use of technology to enable and manage life”, he added.
On his part, the Director General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, represented by the Director of eGovernment Development and Regulation (eGDR) Dr Vincent Olatunji earlier while delivering the keynote address said that NITDA is saddled with the responsibility of developing and regulating the use of Information Technology in the country, which has contributed immensely to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said, “Building creative young minds will bring out the potentials embedded in the teeming youths, making them to have the basic Information Technology foundation at an early stage”.
According to the DG, “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is one of the fundamental pillars and the next oil of the nation that will playing a pivotal role towards the growth of the economy”.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought about the concept of smart things, digital platforms and digital economy, stating that the difference between third and fourth industrial revolutions is the disruptive nature of the emerging technologies,” he added.
Mr. Olajide Ademola Ajayi, an IT Manager representing SAP, said “FIRST is a USA organisation while LEGO is an organization based in Denmark; FLL tournament is to help the young students to become task themselves and perform ‘missions’ during the competition. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and innovators, thinkers and other with the requisite skills will think outside the box, and be able to find answers to real life issues within their communities.
Mr. Ajayi added that FLL tournament basically was to inspire young students to become engineers, technological experts, scientists, great thinkers and help them find solutions to real life issues in their communities.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of Coderina Education and Technology Foundation, Mr. Femi Mr. Femi Niyi, told journalists that the competition is a culmination of weeks and months of learning activities, researching and discovery in science and technology in a hands- on experiential form, putting theories into practice which has made the participatory students to find an intersection between theory and practice.
According to him, “it is aimed at intensifying the penetration of Information Technology (IT) across the country, prepare youths adequately for the fourth (4th) industrial revolution and explore emerging technologies ranging from Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, Coding, Robotic and Bitcoin which is a requisite for the knowledge economy”.
Also speaking, the Director of Partnerships and Engagement at Coderina, Mr. Akinniyi Obaide, said, “We are not competing rather co-competing; a competition in corporation. We are not making the children feel they are jealous, because every presentation is different. There are different robots presented at this tournament; we can’t condemn any of them. It was only when we asked the students to perform tasks that we could pick-up the champions.
“When we are emphasising core-values, we are looking at how are the pupils/students behaving towards each other. What is their reaction towards other teams? Any team that decides to lend their battery to another team gets a mark. We are teaching them to develop team-work mindset; that you can actually rise by lifting others.
The Founder of Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN), Mrs Martha Alade, who was also in attendance expressed deep appreciation to Coderina and partners for empowering Nigerian Youths with such highly sought digital skills needed for thrive in the 4IR.
She remarked that at this pace of innovation showcased at the event, Nigeria would move up the global digital competitive index.