Liberian Students Return In Grand Style From Us Robotic Competition; Ranked 62 Out Of 1,000
Monrovia – Eight students from Grand Bassa County under the Nyonblee Cares Foundation returned to Liberia from the United States of America where they participated in a robotic competition.
Their trip was the second batch of students from Liberia to have participated in the competition. Eight students from selected schools in Grand Bassa participated in the competition.
The students ranked 62 among 1,000 teams from around the world and Liberia was the only African team to have participated in the competition. Upon their return, the students and their parents expressed gratitude to Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence for the opportunity.
“We are happy and we want to thank Senator Lawrence for this opportunity. Some of us have never dreamed that this opportunity to meet other students from another country would have come this early and for this we are grateful,” one of the parents told this paper.
Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence is the brain behind the success stories of these students and she tells FPA that: “Our Wahjay-STEM board is truly honored for the support provided to implement robotics curriculum at the World Wide Mission Academy via NCF and could not wait for a second international competition that was held Louisville, KY in April 2018.
“We are currently making plans to partner with another school for the next school year. Instead of an additional 600 students, we will add 25 because of some operational deficiencies that need to be overcome in the new school.”
“We want to show Liberia what a standardized curriculum in robotics can do for Liberia’s children, Senator Karnga told the audience.
The robotic competition brought together students from USA, China, Korea, Canada and other developed and developing countries.
The important thing about this program is that the children have toy but they don’t know how to put these toys together and what is different is that this help them built their own machine and that is how people grow up with innovation to build cars, trains, planes and other moveable machines we used.
In the coming academy years, more than 150 fourth (4th) to seventh (7th) graders at the two schools will receive education in an enhanced science curriculum fortified with components of mathematics, engineering, and technology. The students are expected to learn how to solve problems working under constraints by transforming their ideas into reality and building prototypes.
At the center of the curriculum is a robotics platform used in 32 different countries – VEX IQ. Besides learning about the various engineering and physics principles, students will also be immersed in a program that will teach them about algorithms and computers, including a simplified computer programming interface based on C+, a widely used computer language.
The enhancement in the curriculum is all part of a program called Wahjay-STEM, for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Undoubtedly, many children appeared uneasy this way of running a classroom – a method that seemed much more engaging than the typical way Liberian schools engage in rote memorization and regurgitation of information. Articulating their thoughts also did not come by easily as most students had limited vocabulary and at times, were put off by Giah’s Americanized Liberian accent.
Wayjay’s true anchor in Liberia, however, is the Nyonblee Cares Foundation, an NGO founded by Grand Bassa’s first female senator, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.
The Senator made her World Wide Academy school available for Wahjay to operate in, along with connecting with key individuals. Such connections led to persuading Ministry of Education officials to allow the program in the Buchanan Demonstration Elementary School.
Karnga-Lawrence has also recruited her peers to push the STEM agenda forward in Liberian schools.