Team ACROBOT (from Methodist Girls’ SHS, Mamfe) came first beating off stiff opposition from experienced teams from USA, Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Egypt, India, Macau, South Africa, Ecuador.
Dr Yaw Okraku-Yirenkyi led Ghana’s contingent of 21 people made of 3 teams (ACROBOT, I-BOT and Cosmic Intellect) and staff of the Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation (GRAF) to the annual event which was held at the Lawrence Technological University (LTU), Southfield, Michigan from May 16 ~ 18. In 2011, GRAF; founded by Dr Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, began introducing Ghanaian Senior High School students to Robotics and Programming through the Robotics inspired Science Education (RiSE) Program with the objective of creating and nurturing a sustained interest in hands-on science and fostering a strong interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects among high school students.
The Robofest World Championship is a global Robotics competition for 5th – 12th graders founded by Prof. Chan-Jin Chung and sponsored by the Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan. The competitions begins with national qualifiers held in various states including the USA, Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Ghana, Egypt, India, Macau, South Africa, Ecuador. Best teams from these qualifiers meet in the US to compete in the Annual Robofest World Championship Competition.
Through GRAF, in the 20th Robofest World Championship, Ghana was represented in the senior category by two teams (ACROBOT and I-BOT) both from the Methodist Girls’ Senior High School, Mamfe and in the junior category by Cosmic Intellect, a private team from the Mikrostem Academy -established and run by Ing. Michael Wilson. The teams pulled stunning results at the just ended world championship with Team ACROBOT emerging as the overall winner (1st place) in the senior category out of 25 teams. Team Cosmic Intellect placed 6th out of 52 teams which competed in the junior category of the championship and Team I-BOT placed 15th in the senior category of the senior game.
Up until 2018, RiSE activities had seen Ghana participate in a number of international competitions in countries including US, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, India, Costa Rica and also the recipient of prestigious awards including but not limited to the under listed:
- 2016: A RiSE team finished as semi-finalists in the World Robots Olympiad (WRO) in Open Category for Senior High. WRO is the largest global competition for students at the elementary, junior high, senior high and universities so far.
- 2016: A RiSE team received the TOYOTA INNOVATION AWARD at the GLOBAL ROBOFEST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in Michigan by one of Ghana teams
- 2017: A RiSE team finished in the top 12 (from over 160 competitors) in the 2017 GOOGLE’S GLOBAL MOONBOT CHALLENGE
- 2018: A RiSE team finished 8th overall out of 23 teams in the seniors game category of the GLOBAL ROBOFEST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP; the first time in its nearly 20-year history an African team broke into the top 10.
- 2018: A RiSE team in the SHELL OCEAN X-PRIZE global competition placed 2nd and 3rd in two separate categories of adjudication (from over 1,500 competitors)
With the current drift of the global economy from an industrial age to a knowledge-based and conceptual/creativity age, the focus on STEM education and critical thinking has been a focus of most developed and developing countries. To improve the efficiency and throughput of the education system in this era, it remains critical to explore efficient techniques and tools to augment the current delivery mode in schools targeting at improving STEM, creativity and critical thinking skill development. GRAF through its RiSE program remains committed to demystifying science through a futuristic educational transformation and helping every student achieve the relevant skill-set needed to be effective in the 4th Industrial revolution.