TWO learners from Rusape’s Milestone College recently made the province proud by representing Zimbabwe in an international robotics competition, the 2023 First Global Challenge, in Singapore.
Natalie Mupotaringa and Tavonga Musariri were part of a five-member team comprising Tanatswa Taremba, Tinashe Kwiri and Christwish Ushewokunze from Tynwald and Queen Elizabeth high schools, respectively.
The First Global Challenge attracted high school students from 196 countries.
The 2023 competition was held under the theme “Hydrogen horizons”, with participants being tasked to use hydrogen robots to separate hydrogen from oxygen to produce energy.
Robotics is a branch of engineering and computer science that involves the conception, design, manufacture and operation of robots.
The objective of the robotics field is to create intelligent machines that can assist humans in a variety of ways.
Zimbabwe’s five-member team performed well in six categories, demonstrating skills and creativity in robotics.
Mr Stewert Mderere, the patron of the Milestone College robotics team praised the students for their achievement, noting that they were the youngest team in the competition.
“I am very proud of our students who participated in the robotics competition. They showed great creativity, teamwork and perseverance in building and programming their robots.
“They also demonstrated their knowledge and skills in the challenges they faced. They were the youngest team in the competition, but they did not let that intimidate them.
“They competed with confidence and enthusiasm, and they learned a lot from the experience. They represented our college and the country well, and they deserve our recognition and applause,” said Mr Mderere.
He said the team also won gold medals in the Africa Science Buskers competition and the Arundel Educait Hackathon competition recently.
“The team from our school that included Natalie and Tavonga won gold medals earlier this year in two different regional robotics competitions. We are currently preparing for our students, Wilson Katsande and Tinevimbo Tasara, to represent Zimbabwe in the Youth Engineering and Science symposium to be held in South Africa in December, as well as the First Tech Challenge to be held in Italy next year,” he said.
Mr Mderere said the international robotics competitions bring together teams from different countries and backgrounds, thereby helping the students to network and build connections with other participants, industry professionals, and potential mentors.
He said the platform is an opportunity to see new perspectives, share knowledge, and foster future partnerships between schools at international level.
“We are very grateful that our students are climbing such ladders and representing the country across the world. Taking part in such competitions helps foster creativity and innovation.
“The team managed to think outside the box, come up with unique solutions and design their own robots. If such projects are funded, they can solve real-world problems. This has helped develop critical thinking skills, while nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset in the students.
“When our students are participating in international robotics competitions, they aim to expand their knowledge and skills in various areas such as coding, engineering, electronics, and innovation.
“They also aim to gain hands-on experience and explore new technologies to enhance their abilities,” said Mr Mderere.
He said they started a robotics club at Milestone College in August after realising that it would provide students with hands-on experience in designing, building and programming robots.
“By participating in the club, students can develop valuable technical skills such as coding, engineering, problem-solving, and teamwork.
“When students are part of the Robotics Club, they can enhance college and career prospects.”