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Curro Durbanville High School is gearing up to celebrate National Science Week in a grand way as it proudly hosts the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) Western Cape Regional competition on Saturday, 5 August 2023. The event promises to ignite the spirit of innovation among learners from different schools across the province, making it the most significant regional competition in South Africa.
The opening address will be given by Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, who will emphasise the competition’s significance for the region and the importance of encouraging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education among young learners.
Curro’s commitment to coding and robotics in their curriculum since 2013 has earned them the honor of hosting this prestigious competition. Dr. Tony Williams, Chairperson of the WRO Western Cape, believes the event is an excellent platform to inspire South African learners to explore the fields of coding and robotics, instilling a passion for STEM education. Moreover, the competition promotes vital skills such as innovation, problem-solving, and teamwork, all of which are essential in today’s fast-paced and evolving world.
The success of Curro learners in past WRO events has been outstanding, with an impressive 25% of national competitors coming from the education provider each year. These teams have represented South Africa in international competitions, showcasing their exceptional talent on the global stage.
South Africa’s involvement in the World Robot Olympiad dates back to 2010, with 40 teams participating at the national level. Over the years, the program has experienced tremendous growth, with a staggering 608 teams competing in 2022. The Western Cape region, in particular, has seen significant expansion, going from just two teams in 2011 to over 100 teams in 2022.
The 2023 competition will feature five captivating categories catering to different age groups and skill levels. The Explorer category is designed for newcomers aged 8 to 16 years, providing an entry-level challenge. RoboMission requires experienced roboteers between 8 and 19 years to design, construct, and program an autonomous robot capable of solving specific challenges. The RoboSport category offers an exciting game where two teams engage in a tennis-themed sports competition using autonomous robots. Future Innovators allows learners to showcase their advanced intelligent robotics solutions, while Future Engineers challenges older learners to apply an engineering workflow in solving real-world problems.
The participants’ performances will be evaluated, and the top teams from across the country will be invited to compete in the South African National competition in September in Gauteng. This national competition will determine the best teams to represent South Africa in the international finals, which will be held in Panama later in the year.
Since its inception in 2004, the World Robot Olympiad has become a global phenomenon, attracting 40,000 talented young learners from 85 countries who have competed in various categories, including Future Innovators, RoboMission Senior, Junior and Elementary categories, Robot Explorer, Robo Sports, and Future Engineers.
The theme for this year’s competition is ‘Connecting the World,’ which emphasises the vital role robots play in developing safer, more sustainable, and efficient shipping and digital technology infrastructure.
As the world advances rapidly into the digital age, events like the World Robot Olympiad play a crucial role in fostering the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. The competition not only showcases the talents of young learners but also inspires a passion for STEM education, propelling South Africa forward on the coding and robotics map. With learners from diverse backgrounds coming together to take on the challenges posed by this year’s theme, ‘Connecting the World,’ we can expect to witness cutting-edge ideas and groundbreaking innovations that may shape the future of technology and its impact on society.
Read more: South Africa’s first STEM digital school