Robotics training programme launched in the country for pupils in townships
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PRETORIA - Exposing school pupils to career options and opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths is crucial.
This was clear at the launch of a robotics training programme in South Africa’s Atteridgeville township this week for pupils from township schools. The Robotics 4 Kidz event will run from October 18 to 22, followed by a series of roadshows.
It engages young people in various problem-solving exercises that involve building, programming and operating robots.
Speaking at the launch, Kgotso Maja from strategy and development company Wallstreet Afreeka said the aim was to expose township youngsters to the processes involved in the design, programming, assembling and deployment of robots.
Maja said technology played a very important role in developing economies, and had been at the centre of the first, second and third industrial revolutions.
“The digital divide and lack of access to devices or infrastructure cause information to come a bit late in certain parts of the country, especially in township schools,” Maja said.
“We wanted to raise the level of interest in technology and expose young people to opportunities they can take advantage of.”
Each year in South Africa, about half of matriculants who write the mathematics exam fail this critical subject. In 2020, just 53.8% of the 233,315 matriculants who wrote maths passed. A total of 125,526 of 2020 matric pupils managed to score a 30% and above pass mark.
Chief executive officer of the South African Robotics Club, Tsholanang Mofokeng, said the aim was to bridge the gap and gender divide in the science, technology and maths fields, and to bring such programmes to the township where they are needed the most.
“We want learners from townships to be innovators, problem solvers and be able to think outside the box and bigger than them,” she said.
Former head of health in Gauteng province Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, who also spoke at the launch, said each South African must lend a helping hand so that pupils could be exposed to what the fourth industrial revolution dictated.
“We want to interest young people in the unfolding future. It has arrived but is still unfolding and they should take advantage of career opportunities in the science and technology fields,” Ramokgopa said.