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Cambridge hosts China-UK tech challenge

Pupils from Cambridge, UK  joined young people from China recently for a project aimed at inspiring scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of tomorrow and facilitating cultural exchange and understanding between the two countries.

Cambridge university hosted the tech challenge on its renowned campus. Photo: Unsplash/ Jose Llamas

The Future Engineer Youth STEM Maker UK Challenge 2018 was hosted at Cambridge University’s Sports Centre and was attended by education experts from China and the UK.

“The young people from China are very attracted by the cultural heritage and history here”

Teams of young people aged from nine to 16 took part in a series of competitions focusing on a range of activities, including imagining how the Internet of Things could transform people’s lives in the decades ahead.

Organisers said the aim of the event was to “promote education innovation, reform personnel training models, and develop scientific spirit, innovative thinking, creativity, and social responsibility throughout the education process”.

But they added it was also an opportunity to facilitate cultural exchange and deepen understanding between young people from China and the UK.

Zhigang Liu, assistant director of the STEM Education and Research Centre at the National Institute of Education Sciences, and project leader for the National Future Engineer Challenge described it as “a big success”, and said it was planned to stage it again in Cambridge.

“Chinese schools are keen on coding and children [in China] start learning [it] in year one, from eight years old, that’s why we value the idea of a youth challenge,” he said.

The challenge was split into three parts, ‘Science Drama’ where teams had to come up with their technical vision of life in the year 2038; a science fair featuring projects tailored to solve problems encountered in daily life; and an ARM-based ‘Internet of Things’ Creative Design Race where students could use equipment to build models showing how the Internet of Things will impact on homes and cities.

Awards were presented to the teams by Xiaopeng Hu, first secretary of the Education Section at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, together with Cambridge’s mayor Nigel Gawthrope and Wei Sun, chairman of the Cambridge Chinese Community.

Sabrina Wu, founder and CEO of First Landing Education, which organised the Cambridge event, said an important aspect was to promote cultural exchange between the two countries.

“The young people from China are very attracted by the cultural heritage and history here, as well as the growth of technology in the UK,” she said.

“We’ve had great success in holding contests for music and sport, and next year we’ll have a big event in London featuring musical concerts with students from China and the UK taking part.”

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