In December 2015, the University Interscholastic League announced that it will host the first-ever UIL robotics pilot program to begin during the 2015-16 academic school year.
The UIL Robotics State Championship will have two divisions, UIL Robotics: FIRST® Division and UIL Robotics: BEST™ Division.
Texas is the largest state to implement a Robotics State Championship. The Robotics State Championship expands opportunities to students who may not already be participating in current UIL events.
“There is a clear need to prepare today’s students for the jobs of tomorrow, many of which are STEM related,” said Dr. Charles Breithaupt, UIL Executive Director. “STEM is a top priority for UIL, and FIRST and BEST have a proven track record of success in preparing students for a future in STEM careers through robotics competition.”
All UIL high schools will have access to the UIL robotics pilot program. The UIL Robotics Championships: BEST Division will take place in the late fall 2016 and the UIL Robotics Championships: FIRST Division will take place at the Austin Convention Center July 28-30, 2016.
FIRST and BEST pilot programs will operate independently of each other.
“Robotics programs are now commonplace in many school districts throughout our state and the numbers continue to grow,” said Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. “I commend the University Interscholastic League for recognizing a way to foster a STEM-related academic competition that encourages students and ultimately benefits the future of our state.”
“I applaud the UIL’s decision to implement a robotics pilot program, which will equip students with hands-on, STEM applied learning and provide them with valuable life-long skills,” said Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Programs like these inspire and prepare students for future high-demand occupations and are a critical part of ensuring Texas remains economically competitive for generations to come.”