Robot Olympiad attracts Qatar talent


Two groups of winners with the officials.

The Qatar National Robot Olympiad (NRO) 2017, which yesterday involved over 500 students from elementary, junior high and senior high schools from across Qatar, marked the inaugural event for Maharat Qatar, sponsored by Qatar Shell and hosted by College of the North Atlantic — Qatar (CNA-Q).

Maharat Qatar is intended to support student engagement and skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, and to promote the application of technology which will enhance the learning environment for students. The NRO 2017 took place at Aspire Ladies Sports Hall. Andrew Faulkner, managing director and chairman of Qatar Shell Companies, stated that Maharat Qatar 2017 will support the Qatar’s vision of nurturing the next generation of leaders in the STEM area in-line with the human development pillar and Qatar National Vision 2030. Dr Ken MacLeod, president, CNA-Q, observed that giving students the opportunity to compete against their peers in robotics activities helps harness their creativity and introduces them to the world of STEM. “As Qatar’s premier technical College of applied learning, CNA-Q is proud to host such an event, and for the first time this year with Qatar Shell. The Maharat Qatar programme speaks to the power of applied learning, so students can experience the importance of STEM, and encourages the pursuit of these subjects once they reach post-secondary. STEM careers are vital to growing and advancing Qatar’s economy,” McLeod said. Maharat Qatar tests the limits of the problem solving, engineering, teamwork and programming skills of the students.

The NRO event featured four competition categories, with the winning teams qualifying to represent Qatar at the World Robot Olympiad 2017 in Costa Rica in early November. With the support and guidance of teachers, educators and mentors, participating students spent the past year training to design and program the best and most versatile robots they can. During the competition, students were tasked with building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots under strict time limits to complete a set of challenges. Dr Theodore Chiasson, dean of Information Technology at CNA-Q, said “We have delivered robotics training to over 300 school teachers this year at CNA-Q, and it is wonderful to see the training has been passed on to their students. With Qatar Shell’s support, we will now be able to expand our skills development framework and further engage students and teachers from schools throughout Qatar in other STEM-related competitions.” Under Maharat Qatar, new skills development areas will be introduced over the course of the year. The ceremony was also a time to hear from CNA-Q’s Class of 2017 co-valedictorians, Mr. Mohammed Al-Nuami, a Business Management – Accounting graduate, and Ms. Rida Ambareen, a Pharmacy Technician graduate, who were selected as shining examples of Qatar’s future leaders. “We are so pleased to see strong, capable graduates enter the Qatari workforce year after year,” said College of the North Atlantic – Qatar, President, Dr. Ken MacLeod. “These graduates are the reason we are here. As the future leaders of Qatar, you are the motivation to continue offering high-quality technical, hands-on education. With the credentials they receive tonight, these students will become the leaders that Qatar has envisioned in the National Vision 2030.



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