RIC SOW Challenge 2021 originated from a simple idea of ‘Spring of Wisdom’ that Royal Institute of Colombo (RIC) adheres to. It is the foundation upon which RIC’s vision of providing quality education is embedded with, i.e., by helping students to be better versions of themselves through academic pursuits along with extra-curricular activities and intellectually challenging competitions.
Commencement of the Virtual Challenge
The Science and Engineering Edition of the SOW Challenge commenced in July 2021 with the objective of providing a virtual platform to the school students across Sri Lanka to develop their innovative concepts, project models, and feasible solutions on the emerging topics related to Science, Engineering, and Environmental fields. With a total participation of over 175 students from over 30 schools in Sri Lanka, 43 students qualified to the final round of the competition that was held virtually in September. Royal Institute International School emerged as champions by winning six awards at the finals. Likewise, St. Thomas’ College and Methodist College bagged the ‘Most Creative Individual Project’ and ‘Second Runners-Up (Team)’ respectively.
Guidance through Student Enrichment Sessions
With an aim to guide and equip the participants with skills essential for their projects and presentations, the RIC Social Sciences Society (SSS) conducted student enrichment sessions on effecting researching and video editing methods, along with sessions on effective presentation and public speaking skills. These sessions were organized by the students of RIC to help the participants build their confidence and apply those learning in their projects and future work.
Student’s Experience throughout the SOW Journey
The competition was initiated to provide a platform in encouraging student’s creativity and innovations in their day-to-day life situations during the time when they were idling at home due to the prevailing pandemic. The students shared their experience to be exciting and challenging at the same time. Bhagya Fernando, the winner of ‘Most Creative Project’ from St. Thomas’ College shared, “Getting the right hardware parts for automated coffee machine was one of the main challenges due to the COVID pandemic, but I managed to get them for my project. My message to other innovators is that when your plan doesn’t go as planned, stay focused and don’t give up. Find another way to make it happen.” Likewise, Arosheny Puvanenthirarajah, the First Runners-Up from Royal Institute shared, “This competition made us learn lot of things, mostly through the intense research to understand not only the technical issues behind the project, but also the social and economic factors involved. This was a great platform for us to showcase our talent and realize what we’re truly capable of.”
Remarkable Commendation from Deakin University, Australia
Dr. Liz Weldon, Associate Head of School (International), and a lecturer, in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University in Australia stated, “I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations and the effort that students had put into gathering background information relevant to their topics at RIC SOW Challenge. They were all very creative with their exciting designs, solutions, recipes, and awareness campaigns. I would like to challenge them to use this competition to grow as a person, and as a scientist or engineer and moreover, to reflect on their own performance, to investigate something new and interesting, to re-evaluate their method, design, and conclusions, and to most importantly, to apply what they have learned in this competition to another part of their life in one, five or ten years.”
Way Forward for the Young Innovators in Science and Engineering
RIC SOW Challenge witnessed highly creative and innovative projects on emerging topics such as, ‘How to save your loved ones from COVID?’, ‘How to prevent road traffic accidents?’, ‘Using electronics in home security, ‘Protect our marine resources’, ‘Experimental cooking using scientific methods, etc. The participants demonstrated high level of knowledge, in-depth research, and scientific reasoning in defending their work during the project presentation. With the right guidance and support, these extraordinary projects could be taken forward in addressing the socio-economic issues prevailing at a global level. RIC continues to support such young talents along with their innovative projects and nurture their ideas to make a real difference in the world.