The future is technology, and the youth have a fundamental role to shape this future. Namibia seems to understand this nexus between young peole, entrepreneurship and technology. The first robotics school, ROBOTSCHOOL, will be launched, in June this year by Bjorn and Kirstin Wiedow.
Wiedow who is the director of FABlab Design and Technology Centre said “Building a foundation in the fundamentals of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) fields is the basis every child needs; we believe that kids as young as 6 years old should have access to a creative and engaging environment where they can learn about the inner workings of the tools they are so accustomed to and use through every touchpoint of their lives; applying critical thinking and, thereby, becoming the problem-solvers of tomorrows glitches.”
FABlab is the first advanced manufacturing, prototyping and design lab in Namibia and the largest FABlab currently within Africa. FABlab seeks to provide competitive educational skills and bridge technological divide. Countries such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea proved to have the best performing children according to an analysis by the Programme for International Students Assessments.
“Learners start with the basics and progress to Python and high-level programming applied to robotics when they enter their final year before graduating with a Master Certificate at the young age of 13,” Wiedow explained.
Speaking to Student Success Forum, on encouraging Namibian youth to utilize the opportunities offered by FABlab Namibia, Wiedow said: “FABlab Namibia aims to empower local communities; education institutions; entrepreneurs and artisans; and SMEs to develop technological solutions as a means of solving local problems. Other objectives are to promote science and technology at all levels; to build capacity and competence in new skills, creativity, and technology; and to enhance competitiveness”.
The ROBOTSCHOOL which has been tagged “the robotics hardware and software school for kids of the future,” already has an instructor in place, Deborah Ajibola a Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Software engineering honours degree student. Ajibola has been in charge of the robotics classes in FABlab over the years.
Different parts of the continent are encouraging teenagers and younger boys and girls to learn robotics. In Nigeria a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students started the Exposure Robotics League (XRL). The development of the continent is possible through empowerment of youths through innovation and new technologies.