SCMP: Can Robots Really Help Get Girls into STEM Subjects? Singapore’s Schools Seem to Think So

In this article, they describe how classrooms in Singapore, part of their innovative Playmaker programme, is aimed at getting more girls into science, math and technology.

“Singapore has now embarked on its Smart Nation initiative, which strives to adopt smart technologies for an economy powered by digital innovation. The Ministry of Education has initiated sweeping reforms for primary and secondary school students, including removing all exams for first and second year students and adding wider scoring bands for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). The goal is to reintroduce the joy of discovery and individual thinking to learning.

Singapore has learned it needs educational evolution to remain competitive and excite the imaginations of young people. The award-winning Playmaker Programme brought robots into the curriculum of 160 of Singapore’s schools in 2016. But, why robots? Singapore realised that preparing young students (as young as preschool) for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) is key to gaining a foothold in the global technological revolution.”

KIBO is thrilled to be a part of the Playmaker Programme, providing KIBO robots to preschools and kindergartens throughout Singapore.

With KIBO, “Children are mastering the interactions and learning programming concepts very quickly, making sequences when they complete tasks that order the robots to act in certain directives.”

Can robotics encourage more STEM interest from girls?

“Why not start engaging girls early, before gender stereotypes are deeply-ingrained?” said Sullivan. Robots break the gender barrier for small children, she said, before gender norms favour more boys than girls becoming interested in STEM. Sullivan believes that girls – after interacting with, learning from and directing the robots – are significantly more interested in becoming an engineer.

Read the full article.