By Assan Sallah
SBEC International school in Bijilo – The Gambia, has emerged second position out of 20 international schools across the world, in a Roboters festival in the US. This year’s festival took place in Austin, capital of the US State of Texas.
The school is represented in the competition by three students, namely; Abdoulie Njie, Form 4 student; Abdulkarim Demba, Form 2 student; and Malick Alasdair Jammeh, a Form 2 student. The team is being escorted by Hassan Sillah, a Physics teacher and IT manager at SBEC International.
One of the participants, Abdoulie Njie, is the son of the Gambia’s Finance Minister Hon. Mambury Njie.
Speaking in a telephone interview from the US, Mr. Sillah said: “We were points behind the team that took first. We had just four hours to build and program the EV3 Lego Mindstorms and complete while all the others had two weeks to practice. Also, this is the first time we are using the EV3 Lego Mindstorm”.
Mr. Sillah said the team does not only represent SBEC International School but The Gambia.
Mr. Sillah is the founder and president of the Robotics Hub -The Gambia. He is also the ‘Next Einstein Forum’ Ambassador to The Gambia (nef.org) and the founder of Sakina technology (sakina.tech).
Asked about how they were able to participate in such a big world event? Mr Sillah said the invitation was sent to The Robotics Hub – The Gambia, for them to collaborate with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology of The Gambia to send a team to represent the Gambia in the Roboters Festival held in Austin, Texas America. He added that 20 teams came from different countries to compete.
He explained that the Robotics Hub – The Gambia has chapter clubs in schools in the Gambia and SBEC is one of the schools that has the club.
“Due to time constraints, SBEC and Marina International were selected to send some students to participate in the competition on behalf of the country and that is because they had been introduced to robotics by the Robotics Hub -The Gambia,” he disclosed.
The Robotics Hub -The Gambia, Sillah went on, is an organisation that promotes STEM education through Robotics and has sent teams to represent the country in international competition since it’s inception.
Last year, he said, the Hub sent a team that won the Pan African Robotics Competition held in Ghana.
“The Hub has also sent teams to compete in Mexico, and Dubai last year,” he remarked.
Reacting to this development, Mr. Haruna Cham, a Physical Education teacher at SBEC International, who is also Head of Extra Curricular Activities’ Department (PE, Swimming, Gymnastics, Martial arts, Public Speaking, Choreography and Music), said:
“This is a victory for The Gambia. The Ministry of Basic Education should be informed about this and they can even organize a warm welcome for the team when they are coming home. This shows that our school is the best in the country”.
Mr. Cham disclosed that SBEC International’s vision is to shape world changers. “We are doing very well. I am Head of Department and I am part of the middle management of SBEC International High school. I joined SBEC since September, 2007. I am part of the first staff of SBEC International High School with just one class of Form with 18 students only. Now we are running SBEC International High School with 4 classes of Form 1, 5 classes of Form 2, 4 classes of Form 3, 4 classes of Form 4, 4 classes of Form 5 and 1 class of Form 6/7. The school is full to capacity. SBEC is also a center for Cambridge exam. Just recently Cambridge came to SBEC from 14th – 16th February 2020, to conduct a workshop. Our Director Madam Ayesha Njie -Nyang is a great woman. She is vision oriented. The SBEC families are; SBEC International Nursery and Day Care, SBEC International Junior School
SBEC International Arabic school (Nursery and Junior School), all located at Bijilo and SBEC International High school located at Salagi village. Our staff are all experts in their subject areas. We have a mixed staff; Gambians, Senegalese, Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans, Lebanese, Egyptians, Guineans, British, Liberians, etc. It’s a bilingual school: English/French school and English/Arabic school and our students memorize the Holy Qur’an,” Mr. Cham stated.
The award ceremony was held on Thursday in Austin and the team is expected to return home on Sunday.