Thirty students from seven schools across Qatar will today begin the 1,500-mile journey to Sochi, Russia, for this year’s World Robot Olympiad (WRO), taking place on 21-23 November. Students travelling to the 11th WRO, who will make up Qatar’s eleven competing teams, were those that triumphed at last month’s Qatar National Robot Olympiad (NRO). Local schools heading to this year’s WRO in Sochi include; AbuBakr Asdeeq, Khalid bin Ahmed, Philippine School Doha, American School of Doha, Dukhan English School, Tariq bin Ziyad and Mohammad bin Abdul Wahab.
This year’s WRO theme is ‘Robots and Space’, which will be reflected within the competition’s categories. Teams from Qatar will compete in the Regular category, a challenge in which teams build robots designed to solve a given challenge set on a table; Open category, in which teams use their creativity and problem solving skills to construct smart robotic solutions that complement the competition’s theme, and the recently introduced GEN II Football category, which will see teams of two play a game of football (soccer) using their constructed robots.
More than 800 students attended the Qatar NRO at the Aspire Zone in October, which was the culmination of the year-long GO ROBOT programme, an initiative to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Qatar will host the 12th WRO in 2015 and follows other cities who have recently hosted the global event such as Jakarta (2013), Kuala Lumpur (2012) and UAE (2011).
Dr. Ken MacLeod, President of College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, said: “Participants at this year’s Qatar NRO set a new standard in terms of technical expertise and creativity, skills which the travelling students will now take onto the global stage at the WRO in Sochi. As we head into 2015, and look towards Qatar hosting the 12th WRO, the GO ROBOT programme will continue with its training of students and teachers across the country as we remain committed to increasing interest and participation in STEM subjects. We wish all the travelling students the best of luck and congratulate them on their achievements to date.”
Sheikh Faisal bin Fahad Al-Thani, Deputy Managing Director of Maersk Oil Qatar, said: “We are proud to have helped send all of these talented local students to Sochi to represent Qatar on an international stage. Qatar continues to be an exciting country for anyone interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the hosting of the WRO in 2015 should help raise further awareness in these fields. Maersk Oil Qatar depends on talented engineers and scientists on a daily basis and programmes like GO ROBOT will help us, and Qatar, develop the leaders of tomorrow.”
The school robotics programme GO ROBOT has been running since 2012 as a partnership between College of the North Atlantic-Qatar and Maersk Oil Qatar, supported by the Supreme Education Council and Qatar Petroleum. Part of the programme sees teachers undergo a series of professional training courses of up to 30 hours each, covering different topics on robot programming and construction. These skills and knowledge, together with free robotics kits provided as part of the programme, are then taken into classrooms or after school clubs where student teams prepare to compete in national and international competitions including the Qatar National Robot Olympiad and the World Robot Olympiad Finals.