Curro Durbanville High School will help ignite National Science Week when it hosts the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) Western Cape Regional competition next weekend (Saturday 5 August).

Teams of learners from different schools across the province are set to take part in what will be the biggest regional competition in South Africa.

“Hosting the prestigious WRO Western Cape Regional competition is a huge honour for Curro, which has championed coding and robotics as part of its curriculum since 2013,” says Dr Tony Williams, chairperson of the WRO Western Cape. “We strongly believe that this competition is a fantastic platform to encourage even more South African learners to explore these fields inspiring a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. The competition also fosters innovation, problem-solving, and teamwork skills, all of which are essential in today’s rapidly evolving world.”

Curro learners have consistently excelled in the WRO with a remarkable 25% of national competitors hailing from the education provider each year. The group’s teams have represented South Africa in previous international competitions, showcasing their exceptional talent on a global stage.

South Africa joined the World Robot Olympiad in 2010 with 40 teams participating nationally. The programme has since experienced tremendous growth, with over 608 teams competing in 2022. The Western Cape region has witnessed significant expansion, going from two teams in 2011 to over 100 teams in 2022.

The 2023 competition will feature five categories that cater to various age groups and skill levels.

The Explorer category is an entry-level challenge designed for newcomers aged eight-to-16 years old. RoboMission, on the other hand, requires experienced roboteers between eight and 19 years to design, construct, and program an autonomous robot capable of solving specific challenges. The RoboSport category offers an exciting game where two teams engage in a tennis-themed sports competition using autonomous robots.

Future Innovators allows learners to showcase their advanced intelligent robotics solutions, while Future Engineers challenges older learners to apply an engineering workflow in solving real-world problems.

Participants will be evaluated based on their performances and the top teams from around the country will be invited to compete in the South African National competition in September in Gauteng. This national competition will determine the best teams to represent South Africa in the international finals in Panama later this year.

Since its inception in 2004, WRO has become a global phenomenon, attracting 40 000 talented young learners from 85 countries who have competed in various categories including Future Innovators, RoboMission Senior, Junior and Elementary categories, Robot Explorer, Robo Sports, and Future Engineers.

This year’s theme – Connecting the World – emphasises the crucial role that robots play in developing safer, more sustainable and more efficient shipping and digital technology infrastructure.