Rural school robotics team takes the world by storm | Western Cape Education Department
Rural school robotics team takes the world by storm

Rural school robotics team takes the world by storm

22 June 2023

Zwelethemba High School’s Robotics team is currently in Massachusetts in the USA for an international robotics tournament.

The learners from Worcester in the Western Cape have defied the odds by becoming one of the top performing teams in South Africa within one year of being introduced to robotics.

The Galatic Einsteins, as the team is known, joined 75 teams from around the world at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for the Inaugural WPI Annual First Lego League Open Event. Teams participated in a research project to identify and solve a real-world problem.

Their itinerary includes a visit to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). From 23 – 25 June, the Galatic Einsteins will take part in the Maryland Tech Invitational from 23 – 25 June at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The tournament brings together FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) teams from around the world who have demonstrated excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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Kudakwashe Takawira, a Mathematics teacher at Zwelethemba High School, said most of the team members come from very humble backgrounds and it was remarkable how well they perform against teams from well-resourced schools with more than 10 years of experience in robotics. Takawira established a STEM Club at the school and introduced the learners to robotics. He said the learners’ success sparked a huge interest in the STEM club, making the centre a technological hub in the area.

“Many thanks to the Sakhikhamva Foundation and its director, Fatima Jakoet, for their hard work in fundraising for this team. We are so proud of the acting principal, Salome October, for making sure that this historic trip is a success”.

“It is also worthwhile to note that the school is offering Coding and Robotics as a subject, making it one of the few public schools in the country to take such a bold step. From the shanties to the world, that’s our story. The story of Galatic Einsteins Robotics Team.”

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