BK Techouse in partnership with ICT company Makers Academy on Wednesday launched the first Robotics Camp Rwanda. The camp, which will run for three weeks at Lycée de Kigali in Kiyovu, is attended by 22 girls and 18 boys aged 14 to 17 years, who were selected as top performers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in schools around the country.
The Robotics Camp is sponsored by the BK Group, the mother company of BK Techouse.
The training, given by three students from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA, will focus on agricultural solutions. The participants will learn how to design, make and program robots that could be models for bigger ones that respond to real needs in agriculture.
Referring to the theme of the camp, ‘Shaping the Workforce of the Future to Strive in a Digital World,’ BK Techouse CEO Regis Rugemanshuro remarked the objective of the Robotics Camp is bigger than just teach the youth how to build and program robots.
“It’s about learning new ways of solving problems through technology,” he remarked. “And you will also learn how to work together with people from different backgrounds in finding those solutions.”
“And we hope that when you leave here you will go and share your knowledge with others and inspire them,” Rugemanshuro said. “We also hope to reap big from this, and see participants go on to become leaders in science and technology.”
On the day of the launch of the camp, the youth already experimented with Lego robotics sets, which brought up memories for the guest of honour, Claudette Irere, the director general for Innovation & Business Development in the Ministry of ICT.
“I grew up playing with Lego robotics sets and solving puzzles; for me, the fun was in the process, more than in reaching the end. It will be the same here,” she said, adding that her love for Lego was also what inspired her, before she got to work for the ministry, to be co-founder of Fablab.
She also exhorted the participants to fully seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“The real challenge will be for you to use what you learn here in other endeavours; this is just the beginning,” she remarked. “We are counting on you to seize this opportunity, and the ministry is ready to support you.”
Obinna Ukwuani, the CEO of Makers Academy which has in the past organised robotics camps in Nigeria, also stressed the fact that the training is more about problem solving than about robotics.
“Robotics might seem obscure, but there are so many things you will learn from this camp that you will be able to apply in other fields,” he said.
According to BK Techouse CEO Rugemanshuro, the company hopes to have even bigger robotics camps in the coming years.