Laguna students compete at PH Robotics Olympiad 2022 – SEARCA

WINNERS of the 1st Laguna Robot LEGOlympics 2022 held at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) headquarters in University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) on July 15 will be competing at the Philippine Robotics Olympiad 2022 on August 13 at the Santa Rosa City Multi-Purpose Sports Complex.

These high school students are from National University (NU)-Laguna and Alpha Angelicum Academy, respectively, who will also have the chance to compete at the World Robot Olympiad in Dortmund, Germany in November 2022.

The 1st Laguna Robot LEGOlympics 2022 was led by SEARCA through the Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD) in collaboration with Felta Multi-Media Inc., NU-Laguna and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Laguna.

Felta Multi-Media Inc. is the sole distributor of Lego Education materials and robotics in the Philippines. It aims to provide the academe with instructional materials to upgrade the quality of education in the country.

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, said this was the first on-site LEGOlympics held with participants from NU and Alpha Angelicum Academy in Laguna, Mines Elementary School in Metro Manila and Columban College in Olongapo.

He said the LEGOlympics, with the theme "Farmers' Friend," brought together 70 students and coaches to challenge the intellectual skills and critical thinking of elementary and high school students in the field of robotics.

Gregorio said the event aligns with SEARCA's priority to empower the youth by making agriculture attractive and profitable as a career. He noted that many parents dream of having their children become doctors or lawyers.

"But let me tell you that there is a future in agriculture. Let us encourage our young people to explore and appreciate this sunrise industry, especially with the advent of Agri 4.0 technologies such as robotics, drones, the internet of things, sensors and big data analytics," Gregorio said.

Mylene Abiva, Felta president and chief executive officer, also noted that through robotics, kids will be more interested to engage in problem-solving through critical thinking.

"If students are given the opportunity to engage in science and technology, they will more likely be attracted to the science-related workforce," Abiva said.

The LEGOlympics included the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Felta and SEARCA.

Gregorio explained that under the five-year agreement, Felta and SEARCA committed to collaborate in undertaking programs, projects and other related activities, including the exchange of scientific materials, publications and information.