This branch of technology, however, is on its way into the Nigeria’s educational curriculum. The concept, a brainchild of three Nigerian students, namely: Onyiyechi Okeke, Obinna Ukwuani and Obinna Okwodu who studied in the United States, was born on May 10, 2011 after which a team of eight students called Exposure Robotic League (XRL) was formed – six from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while two were undergraduate students of the University of Ibadan.
This method of teaching came into being in Nigeria on July 15, 2012 and was test ran at Grange School, GRA Ikeja, Lagos with support from corporate partners like Interswitch Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Schlumberger and First Bank Plc.
The programme brought together 35 Nigerian secondary school students from around the continent, who were selected due to their brilliant performances, to undergo a six-week intense training on Robotics. Onyinyechi Okeke, one of the facilitators of the programme, noted that it has been a common practice among Nigerian students to memorise and regurgitate what they have been taught in examination without acquiring the real learning, thus Robotics has been introduced to address this problem.
She said: “It has come to our notice that Nigerian students are taught through cycles of memorisation and regurgitation of information, while the concept of knowledge application is seldom emphasised in the schools which makes students to just read to pass their exams. Exposure to Robotics is here to address this problem because it enables knowledge application.”
At the training, the students were introduced to Lego NXT and Textrix Robotics Kits which was done in ROBOT C, a straight forward programming language developed by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy.
They were also exposed to the popular SAT exams after being put through the renowned Princeton review Sat preparation materials.
At the end of the six-week training, some of the participating students who could hardly switch on the computer became computer experts, able to write codes and manipulate specially designed machines.
The students were divided into group for a competition after the training where the group, Arnold came first winning a laptop and other trophies.
Speaking to Business School, a member of the winning group, Jemimah Osunde, an S.S.S 3 student of Holy Child College, Ikoyi, expressed gratitude to the sponsors and facilitators of the programme, testifying that it has boosted her thinking ability and also positioned her to make innovative contributions in the country.
“From now on, I will not just read to pass my exams, but I will apply all that I have been taught to make my environment better. I will advise students in Nigeria to make use of every opportunity that comes to them such as the training programme to enhance their capacity,” Osunde enjoined.
According to XRL, the programme was designed to assist Nigerian students to apply the theory they have learnt in the classrooms to solve real problems and also empower Nigerian youths to become technologically relevant globally.