Science faculty partners FIRST to facilitate robotics competition

Secondary school students with the staff of USP's FSTE. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment from the University of the South Pacific has partnered with For Inspirations and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) global higher education network to facilitate the first global robotics competition organised for high school students around the world.
FIRST global higher education’s network’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for inspiring and promoting active involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for students through technology and mentorship.
Teams from around the globe are invited to participate in an international competition which celebrates the inspiration and collaboration, they will be provided with a standard kit of parts to build a robot capable of competing in a game that addresses a global challenge which includes clean water, energy or cybersecurity.
Under the coordination of FSTE’s learning and teaching office, students from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will participate in this competition which will be held in Mexico City from August 15-18.
Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching Bibhya Sharma and leader for the Pacific robotics team said secondary school students had been provided with one of the best opportunities in the Pacific to be inspired through shared learning and active collaboration.
Professor Sharma said STEM needed to be addressed in the region where competitions of this nature had helped create awareness and generate interest in students.
Twelve students from secondary schools, which include Suva Grammar School, Jai Narayan College, MGM High School and Yat Sen Secondary School were selected.
However, the group will be narrowed down to 4-5 students who will represent Fiji in the competition.
The students are trained and mentored by USP’s engineering staff lead by Dr Utkla Mehta.