For the first time in two years, teams in South Africa can compete in face-to-face events. 6 regional events will see teams qualify for the national final in September. And a new unofficial, week-long challenge, aims to recruit more teams for the coming years.
The WRO organizing team in South Africa were delighted to host this year’s first WRO 2022 regional event in Johannesburg on 29-30 July.
For some years, WRO in South Africa have been running its “Explorer” program in which teams new to robotics can compete on a simplified WRO RoboMission game field. A total of 48 Explorer teams participated on the first day of the event in Johannesburg.
The main event followed on the second day where 78 teams participated across three age groups in RoboMission. Only a few teams had attended a WRO event before – which illustrates very well the impact of the lock downs caused by the pandemic.
Investing in the future
Key to the success of WRO in South Africa is the work done by the organising team to secure funding and grants. The money is spent on securing more robotics kits and training into less fortunate and rural regions of the country.
Aside from the official WRO season, the organisers in South Africa have also undertaken a project that aims to give even more young learners their first robotics experience. Rising cost of fuel and air flights is making it too expensive to travel long distances. Hence, the simpler Explorer challenges are made available to home schools, robotic clubs and individuals in a week-long Explorer challenge scheduled for end of October.
Coaches or mentors supervise and score the teams and submit scores to WRO SA to acknowledge and award their participation with banded certificates of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Diamond. The interest and take-up on this option has been overwhelmingly positive,
Neighbouring countries are also invited and able to enter. This allows countries in Africa to get some experience in robotic challenges and builds their confidence and expertise. The long-term goal is to have more of them join WRO on a more permanent basis.
In WRO Association, we are excited to see our organisers in South Africa successfully increase participation – and we look forward to welcome their teams at the WRO International Final in Dortmund, Germany, on 17-19 November.
Find out more about WRO in South Africa here: www.wrosa.co.za