Johannesburg — This August, SAP will once again kick-start its highly successful participation in the annual international science competitions for children, the First Lego League (FLL).
FLL, a partnership between the Lego Company and US-based organisation FIRST, is an international Robotics Team Competition for children from 9 to 14 years.
Its aim is to introduce the youth to the fun and excitement that can be derived from science and technology. The competition also develops the participants’ abilities to work in teams, stimulating their use of creativity in the problem-solving processes and promoting their skills at delivering presentations in the public domain.
This year’s theme, engineering meets medicine, will allow the participants to explore the cutting-edge world of biomedical engineering to discover innovative ways of repairing injuries and overcoming genetic predispositions.
SAP Africa will once again fund the FLL robotics kits and will also have its employees volunteer their time and skills to coach and mentor groups of children over the eight-week period leading up to the competition. These groups will go on to compete against teams from across South Africa, before hopefully qualifying for the final, which takes place in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA. SAP teams have won the competition twice in the last three years, and the company has fully funded the SAP winning teams’ costs for the trip to the USA.
Sunil Geness, Corporate Affairs Executive at SAP, says: “SAP’s involvement as the major sponsor of the FLL competition in South Africa over the past four years, combined with the incredible ability of our employees to volunteer their time over weekends and after work, has been an extremely rewarding experience for the company, its employees and the highly enthusiastic youth who have benefited from the programme in various provinces and from all backgrounds in South Africa.”
This year, SAP Africa is challenging other corporations to become involved in the programme too. “We’re sponsoring 20 teams this year and call on other companies to take up the challenge and also sponsor at least five teams,” continues Geness. “It is imperative for young learners to get involved in science, engineering and technology as the world is rapidly evolving. The FLL programme is a fantastic way to do just that. It inspires and motivates children to seriously consider careers in science, mathematics and engineering – the building blocks of our industrialised society on which the competitiveness of South Africa and Africa is dependent.”
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