National Robotics competition launched

Monday, January 08, 2018

The National Robotics Competition, an initiative that is designed to bring together different high schools to compete in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) was launched on Friday.

The winner of this competition will be crowned the National Robotics Champion 2018 and will represent The Gambia at the Pan African Robotics Competition (PARC) in Rwanda in March 2018.

The competition is co-sponsored by the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia and InSIST Global Ltd. with support from the Ministry of Higher Education Research, Science and Technology.

Launching the initiative, Badara Joof, the minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, called on students to go in for sciences, engineering and technology, acknowledging that it is good to study philosophy and political science too.

But the latter areas, he observed, were subjects that were very relevant in the 50s and 60s when “we were aspiring for political independence.”

“When we want to decolonise politically and economically, those were the relevant subjects.”

He, however, made it clear that the industry is based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

These areas, he acknowledged, are what makes the mere go in the 21st and 22nd centuries and even beyond.

He indicated that mathematics, science and engineering are not how people view it, as students in Rwanda and Senegal are the same students in The Gambia.

“Rwanda had genocide in the 90s and within a short period of time they were able to make a turn-around in these areas why not us?” he inquired.

This, he believes, can only be achieved when “we start with you the students” who are the future.

Minister Joof noted that The Gambia has decided, not only to remove the former president, but to also make transformational change particularly in the educational system; because the sector is on the frontline of development.

Earlier on, Seedy Bensouda, the chief executive officer of InSIST Global, recalled that last year they were able to send some students to the PARC in Senegal.

“This year we want to make it a bigger and national event and the winner will represent The Gambia at the PARC in Rwanda.”

InSIST CEO described the initiative as exciting, saying they have realised that one of the biggest challenges was that many students run away from sciences and technology.

He called on students to make the best use of the initiative and take up sciences and technology as a specialisation.

The objective of the initiative is to promote and encourage students in STEM. However, in The Gambia, children perform poorly in STEM, with officials believing that they are perhaps not encouraged from the early age.

The Banjul Port Expansion project includes a number of measures to increase the capacity of the Port to 372 million tons per year, among which include quay expansion of capacity to 50 tons, rehabilitation of the existing north and south terminals, rehabilitation of the shipyard and development of deep-sea port.

New Book on Banjul history and society to be launched

A book on the history and growth of The Gambian capital titled ‘A Geocritical Representation of Banjul’ (Bathurst): 1816-2016 is a refreshing, if not seminal, addition to Gambian Studies in that it is the first tome to specifically address aspects on the history and society of Banjul, The Gambian capital since its purchase by the British in 1816.

The various authors have taken a multidisciplinary approach to unravel the salient role of The Gambian capital in the making of the colonial heritage of the country. Indeed, although the chapters specifically address issues related to Banjul, the larger history of the country unravels as one goes through the monograph.

Rarely has a West African city gotten a whole book dedicated to her history, and this book is therefore a real masterstroke in innovative scholarship which all students of Gambian history, society and culture should read.

The 316 pages book is edited by Prof Pierre Gomez (Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, The University of The Gambia) and Mr. Hassoum Ceesay historian and Curator Gambia National Museum.

The work is published by Global Hands Publishing, UK. The launch ceremony is slated for the 10th of January, 2018, at Laico Atlantic Hotel, Banjul, 10 am prompt.

Her Excellency the Vice President Aja Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang will be the Chief Launcher and Dr. Aminata Sillah will be the Reviewer.

Author: Sheriff Janko