Young scientists, who have mastered scientific investigative methods, will showcase their ingenuity, creativity and talent at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.
The first of the 35 nationwide regional finals begin in Johannesburg and Kimberley on 28 July and run until the end of August, leading up to the prestigious International Science Fair (ISF) at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg from 3 to 6 October.
An increase in the number of schools participating in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is expected. “Last year saw a 43% increase in school participation and with this year’s strategy geared towards expansion in this area, particularly for rural and no fee paying schools, this number is expected to increase,” says Parthy Chetty, executive director of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.
“Increasing the participation of schools in the Eskom Expo is central to our long-term strategy, which is also a national initiative of government. We aim to increase participation in science- and mathematics-related activities, using the exciting scientific inquiry method.
“Greater exposure to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) activities from a young age is a critical driver for transformation of our economy and the creation of a better world for all.
“Securing the active participation of teachers and the school management significantly assists in ensuring that learners are given the opportunity to explore the wonders of our world from a scientific perspective and this then becomes the driver for innovation,” Chetty adds.
July and August will see thousands of learners competing at the regional level by presenting their science projects to judges and industry experts in different fields of science and engineering, for a chance to represent their regions and provinces at the prestigious Eskom Expo ISF in October.
At the Eskom Expo ISF, outstanding projects receive accolades which may include numerous university bursaries, laptops and other gadgets, cash prizes and lots more. In addition, learners will compete for a chance to represent South Africa at other prominent international science fairs, to which Eskom Expo is affiliated.
In 2016, S’nenhlanhla Dlamini from Ongoye Secondary School in Kwa-Zulu Natal, was awarded a full scholarship sponsored by Siemens to study in Germany. In June this year, Andries Els and Christoffel Barnard from HoĆ«rskool Lydenburg in Mpumalanga won “the most innovative science project overall” when they represented South Africa at the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair.
“This year Eskom Expo extended the relationship with the Kenya Science Fair to now start sending a team to participate in Kenya and other African countries as part of our efforts to bring more African countries together to share experiences in STEM education and promote the uptake of science-related careers,” Chetty says. “This is in line with the long-term view of expanding our partnership programme and we are in constant search of opportunities in various key sectors and organisations.”
Thava Govender, Eskom’s group executive: transmission and risk & sustainability, adds: “Eskom Expo believes that collaboration between partners will contribute to a bigger impact on our education system than the various individual initiatives currently underway.
“These partnership opportunities include the provision of bursaries and scholarships to learners and acknowledging judges and mentors by presenting awards at Eskom ISF and regional expos.”