Robotics can provide the problem-solving that Jamaica needs to boost productivity and economic growth, says Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams.
“The need for innovation and potential for application in our country is huge. We can apply robotics education in the agriculture, manufacturing, shipping, pharmaceutical, food packaging and welding industries right away. It will boost the gross domestic product (GDP) of our country by completing value-added tasks accurately and quickly,” she said.
Minister Williams was addressing the 2023 staging of the NCB Foundation’s Jamaica National Robotics Championship held at Jamaica College (JC) in St. Andrew on Saturday (February 25).
Teams of 200 students from 29 high schools across the island participated in the two-day championship, which began on February 24.
The students were evaluated on their use of programming, research, and critical thinking to develop solutions for everyday challenges.
Jamaica College (JC) emerged the winner of the championship.
The JC team, along with second-place Immaculate Conception High, will be Jamaica’s representatives at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championships, which will take place in the United States in April.
Minister Williams commended the students, who participated in the competition and the level of innovation and creativity displayed.
She said Jamaica has the potential to become a dominant force in robotics.
“We would like for our young people to not only catch up but to dominate the global robotics scene. I am confident that it is only a matter of time before more Jamaicans excel in robotics as we do with many other fields. After all, that is the Jamaican way,” she added.
The staging of the Jamaica National Robotics Championship provided a platform for students to showcase their innovation and creativity in robotics.
The NCB Foundation invested $8 million in the staging of the two-day competition, which was held through partnership with FTC Challenge Jamaica.
The objective is to stimulate young minds in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.