Executive Secretary of the Bayelsa Education Development Trust Fund (EDTF), Dr Alice Atuwo, said no fewer than 101 Senior Secondary School Students from the state are undergoing a month robotics and coding training programme.
Atuwo, who disclosed this during the ‘meet the trainees and trainers’ session at the St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Yenagoa, said the programme would equip the students with new knowledge in Artificial Intelligence.
She said additional 1,200 senior secondary school students are also attending the programme being sponsored by the EDTF.
According to her, the programme is to adequately prepare them to independently sit for qualifying examinations like the National Examinations Council Senior School Certificate, West African Senior School Certificate Examination and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board examinations.
She explained that the robotics and coding training was newly introduced by the Fund as part of the summer camping programme.
Atuwo said the students were drawn from the 12 state-owned model boarding schools from the eight local government areas of the state.
She noted that the benefiting teachers were expected to also carry out the robotics and coding training in their various schools to sustain the programme.
“For the past five years, we have been running this programme for students that are transiting from SS2 to SS3.
“The programme holds in all the local government headquarters and the duration is 30 days, from 1st to 31st October.
“But this year, we introduced another segment. We brought in experts in coding and robotics. There are 101 children, but these ones are not SS2 and SS3. They are only SS1 children.
“They are undergoing robotics and coding training with one teacher from each school being trained so that when they go back to school, they will continue with the programme and continue to link up with the trainers, so that if there is any difficulty, they will get them through and continue the training,” she said.
Atuwo said the agency has recorded over 80 per cent success from the programme as terminal students had passed their terminal examinations effortlessly.
“The best gift you can give a child is education. So that at the secondary level, that child should be able to write the national examinations and pass it on his or her own.”
She, therefore, expressed confidence that Bayelsa is on the right track towards building a strong future by equipping the students with relevant information and communication and technology skills to enable them compete favourably with their peers elsewhere.
Some of the students, Glory Sunday, Model Secondary School, Brass; Emmanuel Jacob, Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama; Izolo Abraham, Southern Ijaw Secondary School, Oporoma; and Brown Praise , Ijaw National Academy, made demonstrations on basic robotics processes and coding programme.
Two other students, Lucky Erebo and Jonathan Alali, said they were happy to gain skills in web development and programming language, describing the training as worthwhile.
“The experience has been amazing. At first when they talked about the training programme, it sounded boring. We are in the ICT era, this training will go a long way to helping us in our future academics,” Alali said.
One of the facilitators, Mr Abel Paul, said the students had been exposed to website development in the course of the training and had been able to build beautiful projects such as web pages for their schools, log in and registration portals capable of collecting information and storing on a database.
He said that the robotics session dwelt on assembly of robots, artificial intelligence and programming of robots to perform specified tasks.