Georgetown, Guyana — (July 20, 2018) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, donated a robotic kit to the students of the Den Amstel Primary School, twenty-eight of whom completed a two-day Robotics Camp facilitated by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Guyana held at the school.
In her brief remarks, Mrs. Granger said that the robotics camp marked the beginning for the eager young minds as she noted that it is her desire that the kit can stem long-term interest in the STEM areas. “You’ve just started. This is going to open up a whole new world to you… It is my hope that at the end of this you will understand how to connect with robots… You started out with little pieces and [look at] what you have here. This is the world you are going to inherit… 60 percent of our jobs will be done by robots. So, if you are in charge of programming the robots, you’ll have a [job]. I hope it will also stem your interest in other things, including scratch programming and, of course, the other STEM subjects,” she said.
The First lady also encouraged the participants to practice and compete in the robotics exhibition planned for next July. “You didn’t only learn the robotics; you also learned some scratch programming… [You] can form a club and participate in our national exhibition next year. [You] can participate as a school in the scratch programming league… At the next National Robotics Exhibition, Den Amstel could come and prove to Guyana what you can do,” she said.
Head Facilitator, Ms. Aisha Peters said that the participants have a responsibility to share the knowledge with their peers. “After your two-day [camp], I’m sure and I am satisfied that if you go to a different school or a different community, each and every one of you would be able to teach somebody else. [The knowledge] is not going to [be left] here with you alone. You have to go out there and teach somebody else what you [have] learnt,” she said.
Deputy Regional Executive Officer of Essequibo Islands- West Demerara (Region Three), Ms. Jennifer Ferreira Dougall encouraged the females among the participants to break the glass ceiling in the technology field. “You’ve had two days of [camp] and I’m sure that you’ve learned somethings that you didn’t know could happen… There is a myth that says that girls cannot fix robots or be engineers and we’re going to show them [that for] Den Amstel, that is not true,” she said.
Robotics camper, Ms. Lakisha Wilson, in an invited comment, said that it was a learning experience for her, particularly as a female. “It was good… the best part was the programme that they gave us and making the robot… They say that girls cannot do it, but they can do it if they put their minds to it. I don’t believe that the girls cannot do it. The girls can do it,” she said.
During the camp, the participants were taught how to build and programme robots while improving collaborative and critical thinking skills.