Ghanaian high school students win prestigious World Robotics Competition

BY Preta Peace Namasaba June 11, 2024 12:27 PM EDT

Students from Prempeh College in Kumasi, Ghana have once again made their country proud by winning the prestigious World Robotics Olympiad Challenge. After several rounds of competition with teams from other countries, they secured first place in the Unknown Mission Challenge at the 2024 World Robotics Olympiad held in Izmir, Türkiye. The winning team consisted of Emmanuel Oppong-Peprah, Curtis Osei, Kwabena Brefo Boahene, and Kofi Kyei Sarfo. They were awarded a trophy and an $80,000 scholarship to further their education at a university in the United States. 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve done it again! We’ve won the Global title of the World Robotics Olympiad, Unknown Mission Challenge (UMC) 2024,” Prempeh College wrote on Facebook.

The Unknown Mission Challenge tests the participants’ unique ability to adapt and innovate under pressure. It is not revealed until the day of the competition and requires competing teams to think swiftly and to apply their knowledge in innovative ways. The students from Prempeh College showcased their outstanding skills and teamwork to emerge victorious at this year’s edition of the championship. They reveled in their victory and proudly hoisted Ghana after they were announced as winners.

Founded in 2004, the World Robot Olympiad is a non-profit global robotics competition for young people. Its mission is to “bring together young people all over the world to develop their creativity, design, and problem-solving skills through challenging and educational robot competitions and activities.” From only 12 countries participating, the competition has grown and currently attracts more than 28,000 teams from more than 85 countries around the world. Competitions in member countries are hosted by National Organizers who are responsible for organizing local and regional competitions and national finals.

The Prempeh College Robotics Team is not new to winning on the international stage. The team recently triumphed at the 2024 Robofest World Championships Unknown Mission Challenge (UMC) held at Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, USA. It was their seventh time winning the world championship. Prempeh College students also secured the highest score at the 2023 National Robotics Competition held in Accra, Ghana, earning the honor of representing the country in the World Robot Olympiad in Panama.

Ghana has been making inroads in promoting broader Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Initiatives geared towards empowering students and teachers to creatively apply classroom lessons to technology have gained momentum. A 2019 study by the International Finance Corporation estimated about 230 million jobs across Africa will require digital skills by 2030 with more than nine million of those jobs being in Ghana. As robotics becomes an integral piece of technology in society, it is vital to equip the future workforce with the necessary tools to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.