While digital literacy has become an essential requirement in today’s day and age, most of our students have never touched a computer before coming to EYC. We are acutely aware of the importance of digital literacy and the need for our students to think critically, problem-solve creatively, and work collaboratively to be competitive in both the academic arena and the job market. Over the last two years, this awareness has led us to start incorporating STEM programming into our curriculum in partnership with Sabai Code, a Phnom Penh-based computer science program focused on building the next generation of Cambodian leaders in innovation and technology.
To date, we have offered coding and robotics programs to 92 students – 36 male and 56 female between the ages of 10 and 23 – and we have been excited by the interest and aptitude shown by our students. Given the gender disparities often found in STEM, we have consciously encouraged and promoted the participation of our female students to great success.
In October 2021, the World Robotic Olympiad Association (WRO), a non-profit organization serving more than 26,000 teams in 80+ countries with robotics competitions, in conjunction with STEM Education Organization Cambodia, hosted the World Robotic Olympiad. The theme of the competition was clean energy. Five EYC teams – four junior (kid) teams and one senior (adult) team – participated in the Cambodia round. These teams ranged in age from 12 to 20 years old and consisted of six females and six male students.
To everyone’s delight, two junior teams took 1st (Team Monkey – all-male team) and 3rd (Team We Grow – all-female team) place in the Cambodia Junior Round. EYC’s senior team (Team Gylor 101 – two females and one male) came first in the Cambodia Round. This team then went on to participate in the International Competition, where they placed 11th in the overall competition! The EYC team projects ranged from creating solar panels to reduce pollution to a device to aid in more efficient watering of crops to creating robots to move solar panels in a virtual game.
We were incredibly proud of the success achieved in the competition and our students’ hard work, perseverance, and creativity. While our students have not grown up with easy access to the digital world, this competition shows that they have the talent and the aptitude to succeed when provided with opportunities to unlock their potential.
Click here to watch a video showcasing the projects of Team Monkey, Team We Grow, and Team Gylor 101!