Using robotics to spark a new era of problem-solving youths in Nigeria

Project 10 000 Kids teaches robotics and engineering skills to Nigerian school kids.

Project 10 000 Kids is an initiative that hopes to create a generation of innovators and problem-solvers in Nigeria by teaching robotics to school kids. The project’s founder, Olaoluwa Balogun is an advocate of education that empowers students to deal with real-world challenges, which is why he established an advanced technology programme for university students in 2011.

Considering that over 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population is under the age of 35, Balogun believes that education has the power to secure the development of the country. He plans to implement the free 12-hour course in 200 secondary schools across Nigeria with the aim of providing robotics education to 10 000 Nigerian kids. The course completely deviates from the parrot-learning style of the national academic syllabus by using hands-on, Lego-based projects that show students how to use technology and engineering to find solutions to everyday problems.

On the Indiegogo page set up to help fund the project, Balogun writes, “Robotics is a fascinating way to help kids learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively. In the future, not knowing the language of computers will be as challenging as being an illiterate today.”

To encourage students to pursue their interests in technology-based education after the courses, Balogun plans to initiate robotics clubs in each of the schools and robotics competitions once a term.

Balogun points out that the Project 10 000 Kids programme is not only about building robots, it’s about students exercising technical skills to solve problems in a logical way.  He says, “Computational thinking combines mathematics, logic and algorithms and teaches children a new way to think about the world; it is how software engineers solve problems.”