China / Society

Robotics programs gaining ground

By Luo Wangshu (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-30 04:32

Robotics programs gaining ground

Guo Zhuoxuan (left) and Zhang Xinyu, members of a robotics club at the middle and high school affiliated with Jiaotong University in Beijing, calibrate their robot on Thursday. [PHOTOS BY WEI XIAOHAO / CHINA DAILY]

Students learn to work as a team, failing and trying again until achieving success

High school junior Chen Chaoyi has a regular hangout after school — a robotics lab.

"Robots have magic and are super fun," the 17-year-old said, demonstrating a robot his team made that was able to pick up balls and throw them into a basket.

Browsing Chen's personal page on his social media WeChat account, where robots are a recurrent theme: a day with robotics, a late but happy night with robots, robotics competition photos.

Chen is a member of the robotics club at Beijing Jiaotong University Middle School.

As robots have become increasingly part of people's daily lives, robotics education, as an important application in the engineering world, has taken off in China over the past decade.

In Beijing, nearly 300 primary and middle schools have robotics-related curriculums and activities now, said Liang Yujun, head of the science education department at Beijing Youth Center. Liang is in charge of robotics education in the capital and also general referee of the national youth robotics activity.

Liang added that in the early 2000s, only about 20 schools had such curriculums and activities.

In the 2014 Beijing Student Robotic Intelligence Competition, about 3,000 registrants from 160 schools and extracurricular teams participated.

"We have to hold the competition in one of the city's largest sports fields now, which can accommodate the increasing number of players," said Liu Yi, who is charge of running the competition at the Youth Center in Haidian district. The competition, which began in 2012, is a reflection of dramatic growth in China's robotics education.

It had about 1,400 students in its first year, Liu said.

Introduction to China

Robotics education entered China at the turn of the millennium.

In Beijing, Jiaotong University Middle School introduced a robotics course as a requirement for all students and an elective for high school students in 2001, as the first school that opened a robotics course in China.

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