Special Olympics UAE has concluded the Unified Robotics 2020 preseason training with outstanding participation of 196 students in 58 unified teams from 25 schools nationwide.
The four-week training kicked off on 9 November, catering to two age groups: 8-11 years old and 12+year-old students of diverse abilities.
The virtual iteration of the Unified Robotics programme is designed to factor the impact of COVID19 on education and the partial move to distance learning across many schools.
Participation included mainstream schools and special needs schools and centres across the UAE.
Talal Al Hashemi, National Director, Special Olympics UAE, said: “We are delighted with the wide participation in the Unified Robotics 2020 preseason training, at a time when schools continue to be challenged by the consequences of the pandemic and the increased pressure on teachers.
“It shows that we choose not to allow these extraordinary circumstances to shake our commitment to children of diverse abilities, ensuring that no one is left behind. We look forward to even more participation as we plan our Unified Robotics 2021 programme.”
Rahi Kadam, STEM Program Leader, ATLAB and one of the lead programme developers who interfaced with participating schools, said: “Our vision is to help students develop 21st century skills by allowing them to use the best platforms and resources.
“We are delighted with the overwhelming response from schools during this pre-season training. It was astonishing to witness how students were teaming up, sharing thoughts, critically-thinking, solving problems on the virtual platform and working together to finish their tasks.
“We are keenly looking forward to the competition season and to making it more engaging and fun for all the Unified Robotic students.”
“It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to participate in the Special Olympics Unified Robotics 2020 programme.”
“We had two teams registered and both primary and secondary students had tons of fun working in unified teams,” said Sheillie Chaudhary, Head of Innovation, GEMS Cambridge International Private School Sharjah.
“The virtual experience was also convenient for students who opted for distance learning. We are grateful to Special Olympics UAE for this unique and enriching experience for our students, who are already excited about next year’s competition.”
Unified Robotics 2021 is planned to take place during Q1 2021. Special Olympics UAE will be consulting with its education partners, Government stakeholders and schools as it finalizes the dates for next year’s programme.
Unified Robotics held its first event in the UAE in November 2019 and attracted over 200 participants from schools across the UAE who worked in unified teams to build robots over a six-week period, which ended in a live event and awards ceremony on November 16, 2019.
Last year’s Unified Robotics event in Abu Dhabi was the first to be held outside the United States.