A group of students are gearing up to make their debut at the FIRST Global Robotic Competition in Singapore next month. This event, with the theme “Hydrogen Horizons,” will witness the participation of five talented students from different schools across Bhutan.  

The competition serves as a beacon of inspiration for high school students worldwide, encouraging them to embrace the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. It is not merely a showcase of technical skills; it also fosters international understanding, cooperation, and innovation in problem-solving. As a mentor of these students aptly puts it, this event is a platform for Bhutan’s youth to exhibit their creativity and abilities to the world. 

In recent years, Bhutan has been encouraging students to participate in international tournaments to expose them to what is happening in the larger world of robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and various advancements in technology. In 2018, a three-member team participated in the Global Robotic Olympic Day in Mexico, and then the CST students participated in the e-Yantra Robotics Competition the following year. Small teams also participated in other regional competitions annually. 

While we know we cannot match international players in terms of investment, our young bright minds will need to take these opportunities to learn from the experience and imbibe much of what they see out there.

The students are brimming with anticipation for the competition, eager to share their knowledge, experiences, and cultural perspectives with teams from diverse backgrounds. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they aim to make a positive impact on the competition while championing Bhutan’s commitment to a low-carbon future through clean energy solutions like hydrogen fuel.

As these bright young minds embark on this global adventure, they carry not just the hopes of Bhutan but also the promise of a sustainable and low-carbon future. We, as a nation, should rally behind them, celebrating their achievements and supporting their endeavours. Their participation in the FIRST Global Robotic Competition is a testament to Bhutan’s commitment to innovation, knowledge, and a greener tomorrow. 

Beyond the tournament, to fully embrace the opportunities in robotics, we need to invest in education and training programmes, and send our children to many more such competitions. Developing partnerships with organisations and countries with expertise in robotics, creating a supportive regulatory environment, and organising more events or competitions at home will also help this fledgling sector grow.