File picture: Reuters/Sergio Perez
File picture: Reuters/Sergio Perez

Robotical joins forces with NGO under Nokia to deliver education in SA townships

By IOL TECH reporter Time of article published Apr 28, 2020

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Edtech start-up Robotical has on Tuesday announced that it is working with South African NGO, Got Game, on Nokia’s Helping hands project to deliver education to previously disadvantaged youths in South Africa. 

Studies show that 27% of South African pupils that have been schooled for six years cannot read, compared to 19% in Zimbabwe and just 4% in Tanzania. Only 4% of South African children study for a degree; and just one in every 200 black pupils can expect to do well enough at school to go on to study engineering, compared to ten in every 200 white pupils.

The Helping hands project is Nokia’s global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program under which the company supports employee-driven local community initiatives across the world. 

Using its technology with a social purpose approach, Nokia aims to promote education to disadvantaged youths.

Under the program, Robotical will deliver Marty, the programmable and customisable robot for kids and educators, to schools across South Africa, in a nationwide effort to make coding and programming more accessible for disadvantaged youths in townships.

Got Game will work with the schools involved to impart critical coding and programming skills. Marty has been deployed in Johannesburg, Cape Town and the Limpopo region.
 
The initiative is part of Got Game’s ongoing We Code drive. 

“Nokia is committed to improving lives of local communities in various fields such as education. In South Africa, we are delighted to have launched this community initiative with Robotical. We were specifically drawn to Marty as the robot can be used by children of all ages. As their coding skills get more advanced, Marty can be scaled up accordingly,” said Deon Geyser, Market Unit Head for Southern Africa at Nokia. 

“Projects like these can have a more sustainable impact on the lives of young people. Therefore, it’s important that tools can show value for a number of age groups and for long periods of time, but also be fun and entertaining for the children, otherwise they fall flat. Marty provides such a tool.”

“Having access to such an innovative piece of tech as Marty the Robot is a really exciting step for us. The fact that our pupils can progress from basic Scratch coding through to more complex Python exercises is a real plus,” said Keane Small, project lead at Got Game. 

Robotical has been working closely with Got Game to ensure that the children are getting as much out of Marty as they can, with Robotical’s schools team offering hands-on advice and guidance on Marty’s various functions and use cases.

IOL TECH

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