First Global Challenge virtual competition | 11 December 2020
Source: Seychelles Nation Newpaper
Team Seychelles rewarded for excellent performance
Students who formed part of Team Seychelles at the First Global Challenge virtual competition held in Dubai between June 27 and September 25, 2020, have been awarded with their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics projects certificates of excellence.
Tanmay Raghwani (Independent School), Russels Arachchi (Beau Vallon secondary), John Paul Soubana (Anse Royal secondary), Ashlee Barbé (Anse Aux Pins primary), Mikail Rudchenko (International School Seychelles), Miguel Malbrook (Anse Boileau secondary) were ranked 47th out of 175 participating countries. Their performance was described as a great achievement and a milestone as it bettered that of 2019 where Seychelles finished 121st out of 160 countries in the competition.
It was Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry Devika Vidot who presented members of Team Seychelles with their certificates of excellence in a small ceremony on Monday afternoon at the National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (Nisti) based at La Fontaine Holiday Apartments, Bel Ombre. Tanmay Raghwani and Ashlee Barbe were not present to collect theirs.
Their achievement follows three months tackling 13 gruelling social media and technical conception challenges faced by the world through climate change, energy production and consumption, including on the topical coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, among others. The competition under the theme ‘Connecting Communities’ was held virtually due to the worldwide coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
As the competition was not based on the usual physical assembling on site of functional robots, the students’ 13 virtual challenges included the conception of a device that could fly, designing of robot that could clean beaches and an industrial safety device in the form of a helmet with incorporated safety technologies for the benefit of the user, among others.
Also present to collect their certificates of excellence were the supporting team consisting of the chief executive of Nisti, Xavier Estico and mentors Joseph Raj, Cindhuja Kamalja and professor Ralph Etienne Cummings from John Hopkins University (USA). Mentor Manfred Laporte was not present to collect his certificate.
Addressing the small gathering, Minister Vidot, who congratulated the students and the support team for their impressive results, said it all reflects the progress in advancement of information technology in the education system.
“Your achievement to be ranked 47th out of 175 countries demonstrates not only dedication and hard work but the talent that the youths of Seychelles possess,” said Minister Vidot, noting that government will continue to provide its full support towards their pursuit.
Mr Estico, on his part, said that since taking part in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) competition for the first time in 2017, it is sure that the country is achieving its national objective of our national Stem programme which was designed to get our youths to be more interested in Stem based subjects and careers. He claimed that many participants who have taken part in past competitions have taken Stem-related careers.
He later said that Nisti will be looking to spread the Stem ideology in all schools so as to get a better choice for a selected national team for future competitions. With Seychelles taking part in the primary to secondary student category this year and after participating in the 14-17 years division in recent years, Mr Estico stated that Seychelles will in the future look to participate in other age categories, especially in the 18-24 years, where competition is more difficult and more challenging.
Mr Estico called on the youths to join in on the programme and also on government to show increased commitment in science, technology, innovation and Stem to better prepare the country to face the many challenges during Covid-19 and post Covid-19 realities.
Mikail Rudchenko had words of thanks for everybody who helped them on their achievements.
The First Global Challenge is a yearly Olympics-style robotics competition with the objective of promoting Stem education and careers in the developing world through Olympics-style robotics competition among more than two billion youths across the world.