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

A Nanyang Polytechnic student toggles with his mobile robot as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (far right) and covering chief judge of mobile robotics Clarence Tan observe him, during a tour of the Worldskills Singapore competition held on 10 Jul
A Nanyang Polytechnic student toggles with his mobile robot as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (far right) and covering chief judge of mobile robotics Clarence Tan observe him, during a tour of the Worldskills Singapore competition held on 10 July, 2014. Students in primary and secondary schools, who want to learn more about robotics and computer coding, received a $2.8 million boost under a new plan unveiled by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Students in primary and secondary schools, who want to learn more about robotics and computer coding, received a $2.8 million boost under a new plan unveiled by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday.

The programme, called the Robotics and Maker Academy, is a collaboration between the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP). It will involve teaching staff from SP training teachers and students from schools in robotics and coding. The IDA said these are skill sets necessary to help Singapore gear up to be a smart nation.

IDA and SP hopes to reach out to about 10,000 students from 30 primary and secondary schools through the programme when it is officially launched in the last quarter of 2014. Teachers and students with interest in robotics and engineering will be invited to join the programme.

The initiative, which will run until 2017, was unveiled at Friday's National Engineers Day and Singapore Mini Maker Faire Education Day.

Mr Heng, who was guest of honour at the event, also gave out ten awards to engineers with innovative designs that advance the well-being of people and communities. One of them was a solution to harvest low frequency vibration energy to power miniature electrical devices.

Three student groups with interesting healthcare innovations were also given awarded for their efforts. The top award went to Temasek Polytechnic students Yang Shuang He and Jia Yixin, who developed an application that helps patients with difficulty maintaining their balance during physiotherapy.

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