$2.8m boost to teach robotics and coding in primary and secondary schools

SINGAPORE - Ten thousand primary and secondary school students are expected to benefit from a new $2.8 million dollar Robotics & Maker Academy (RMA) collaboration between the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) over the course of three years.

The collaboration will be co-funded by IDA and SP, and will run till June 2017. Over this period, the RMA will target 30 primary and secondary schools.

When the RMA is officially launched in the last quarter of 2014, primary and secondary schools with an interest in Robotics and Engineering will be invited to join the programme.

It was announced today by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister of Education at the co-opening of the National Engineering Day and Singapore Mini Maker Faire Education Day 2014.

This programme will take students through a knowledge discovery process as they learn to code and programme robots in a guided environment with hands-on activities such as workshops and competitions.

Through this process, students will gain the necessary computational thinking skills and basic understanding in coding and robotics - skill sets that are necessary to enable Singapore to gear up as the world's first Smart Nation, IDA said in a media release.

It will also allow students to gain an interest in infocomm technologies and take on professional infocomm careers in future.

The programme allows teachers access to a series of teaching and learning packages by RMA that will equip them to provide help to the students in their course of learning about robotics. These packages can also be used to as advanced learning materials for students who have prior experience in robotics programming.

The collaboration taps on SP's knowledge and expertise in the areas of Engineering and Robotics, in particular the usage of Educational Robotics to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to youths.

The RMA will also see SP students from various disciplines, participating in the training workshops and development of the teaching and learning packages used.

Mr Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA, said: "Getting young people excited about building and experimenting with tech is easy when it involves cool things like robotics. We are focused on developing young Singaporeans to be confident with coding and building technology so as to prepare them for an ever-evolving Smart Nation future."

SP's Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tan Choon Shian, said: "As a polytechnic, we are glad that we could further contribute towards nurturing and preparing our youths in the areas of science and technology through this unique collaboration."