Robotical, the Scottish EdTech startup behind Marty the Robot, has announced it will take part in an initiative to deliver education to disadvantaged young people in South Africa.
The Edinburgh-based firm is working with South African NGO, Got Game, on Nokia’s helping hands project which supports community initiatives around the world.
Under the programme, which is part of Got Game’s ongoing We Code drive, Robotical is delivering Marty the Robot to a number of schools across the country. Marty is a programmable and customisable robot that allows children to learn vital digital skills, such as coding.
It is hoped that the initiative will help improve STEM skills across South Africa, where only 27% of pupils that have been schooled for six years can read and just 4% study for a degree.
Commenting on the initiative, Got Game project lead, Keane Small said: “Having access to such an innovative piece of tech as Marty the Robot is a really exciting step for us. The fact that our pupils can progress from basic Scratch coding through to more complex Python exercises is a real plus.
“We have run initiatives in the past on a smaller scale with great success. Many of the children we work with have never had access to a computer, so our aim is to bridge the gap between those that do and those that don’t. By doing so we hope we can equip all children across South Africa with the skills needed for the job market of the future.”
Deon Geyser, market unit head for Southern Africa at Nokia, added: “In South Africa, we are delighted to have launched this community initiative with Robotical.
“We were specifically drawn to Marty as the robot can be used by children of all ages. As their coding skills get more advanced, Marty can be scaled up accordingly.”
So far, Marty has been deployed in Johannesburg, Cape Town and the Limpopo region, and there are plans to reach other regions and major cities throughout 2020.
Robotical has been working closely with Got Game to help children get the most out of Marty, with the company’s school teams offering hands-on advice and guidance on the robot’s various functions and use cases.
Sandy Enoch, founder and CEO of Robotical, commented: “This initiative is really at the heart of what we are trying to achieve as a company. Our aim has always been to make coding exciting, fun and accessible for as many young people as possible, regardless of where they are from.
“The feedback from Got Game thus far has been fantastic, and it is truly humbling to think that Marty could have a real impact on the lives of children that have never had access to technology. This is exactly why I started Robotical.”