Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday inaugurated the Delhi Robotics League (DRL) and HE21 Exhibition at the Thyagaraj stadium. It is India’s first statewide robotics competition conceived to enhance skills and competencies among school students. CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal expressed his delight at witnessing the incredible talent and intellect of the young participants. He also acknowledged the relentless efforts made by the Delhi Government Schools over the past eight years, leading to the provision of globally acclaimed education standards.
The event marks a significant milestone as it is the first time in the country that a robotics competition of this magnitude is being organised in the country. CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal emphasised the importance of connecting education with real-life situations and challenges, citing the extraordinary models presented by the participating students. The showcased projects demonstrated the exceptional problem-solving abilities of the young innovators, who ingeniously addressed everyday life issues through cutting-edge technology. Education Minister Ms Atishi, was also present at the event.
Notably, the theme of DRL 2023 is “Robo Kancha”. Most people in the city would have played “Kancha”, a traditional game, mostly played by children but cherished by people of all ages. The initiative has been taken to facilitate the development of a collaborative mindset in students. The aim is to enable students to learn problem-solving by conceptualising game solutions, designing and building robots, testing, debugging, and ultimately creating a winning strategy. Besides this, it also promotes attributes such as communication, team spirit while working in groups, and industry readiness, which is valued in society, through the cherished game of Kancha.
Speaking at the inauguration, Shri Arvind Kejriwal congratulated all the participants who were taking part in the league. Prior to his address, he also went around and visited the stalls that had been set up by the students. He said that it is perhaps the first time in India that a robotics competition has been held at the school-level and today it is being conducted at the state-level. “A high end competition like this has not been held anywhere in India before. Today there are government schools as well as private schools who are participating in this competition. But the maximum number of students participating in it are from SoSE. We can say that the level of education in the government schools of Delhi is much above that in other states.
He added, “I was just taking a look at the exhibition over here and it is amazing. During our school days it was impossible to even think of the kind of projects that our students in Class 11 are doing at the moment. I saw one product over here through which the farmer can be informed about how much water to put in his field. Often a farmer ends up putting too much water and sometimes it is the other way around. Either way, it is harmful for the crops. So, the students here have put sensors on the ground and through it they know how much water is adequate. This is an excellent idea and if it is implemented throughout the nation, it can be a transformational move.”
Shri Arvind Kejriwal pointed out that the students in the exhibition have tried to find out solutions to real-world problems and this is the best aspect of such an initiative. He gave an example from his personal life that made him realise how our education in the past was disconnected from real-world problems. “When I went to IIT-Kharagpur to study mechanical engineering. After my second year of college, I had my vacation and I went to my village. Over there, one day, my grandfather called me and said that his fan is not working and he asked me to fix it. I told him that I didn’t know how to fix the fan. He was surprised that I was a mechanic engineer in IIT-Kharagpur and could not even fix a fan. That is when I realised the disconnect between what we study in college and the real-world problems,” he said.
He added, “I am very happy to see that the students in our high school now are researching and trying to find solutions to real-world problems. Therefore I believe that this DRL is a great initiative and will go a long way forward in finding solutions to problems that our country faces. I would like to congratulate everyone who participates in this tournament over the next two days. I want to congratulate the team that goes on to win it, and also the other teams that learn and showcase their work over here. Ultimately every product over here is a solution to some real-world problem and therefore I firmly believe that there are no losers in this tournament and everyone here is a winner.”
Addressing students at the Delhi Robotics League, Education Minister Ms Atishi said, “This is the first-of-its-kind competition being hosted by the Delhi government. Until 8-9 years ago, no one would have imagined a day when Delhi government students would compete in a robotics competition. But today, we are hosting the final round of the Delhi Robotics League. DRL was started in December last year, and students from various Delhi schools participated with their robots in this.”
By engaging in this competition, students have the opportunity to develop and showcase their skills in robotics, a field that is highly relevant in the 21st century. Through their involvement in robotics, students learn to think critically, solve problems, and work collaboratively as a team, she added.
She further said that students of the Delhi Government’s Dr. B.R. Ambedkar School of Specialized Education are receiving the best quality education compared to their counterparts, which has equipped them to compete in a competition like the Delhi Robotics League. Earlier, government schools were thought to be the last choice for parents. When parents were unable to afford the high fees of private schools, they would admit their children to government schools. However, thanks to CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal, brilliant and magnificent government schools have been established across Delhi, and now children aspire to be admitted to them.
The Education Minister said, “Today, children at ASoSEs (Dr. B.R. Ambedkar School of Specialized Education) are learning subjects like robotics, which are the need of the hour. Students who graduate from our SoSEs will not only secure the best jobs but will also find solutions to the country’s biggest problems.”
“We are excited to witness the battle of robots in this unique competition,” said Ms. Atishi, as she congratulated all the students who have reached the final round.
The Delhi Robotics League was conceptualised by the School of Specialised Excellence (SoSE) in
collaboration with the I-Hub Foundation for Cobotics (IHFC) – technology hub at IIT Delhi in December 2022. More than 30 DRL Boot Camps were conducted across Dr. B.R. Ambedkar SoSEs between December 20, 2022, and December 31, 2022.
Eventually, the DRL was announced and there were 287 teams from the various schools of Delhi that participated in the initial stages of the league. In the Stage-1 submissions, 106 teams out of 287 were shortlisted. This was followed by the Stage 2 submissions in which each of these 106 teams gave video submissions of systems and subsystems of their robots. Now, in the final round that will be played out over the next two days, a total of 68 teams will compete.