The Department of Science and Technology’s annual science and technology campaign, National Science Week, will be launched at the University of Limpopo’s Turfloop Campus this week.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, will launch the focus week, accompanied by the Limpopo MEC for Education, Dickson Masemola, and other dignitaries from the private and public sector.
This year’s National Science Week features an exciting array of events and activities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI). Schools and the general public are encouraged to participate in these activities, which will be held at over 150sites across the country from Monday, 29 July, to Friday, 2 August.
With a calendar of events ranging from sky-viewing by telescope in Daveyton (Gauteng)and motivational talks by young scientists in Hammanskraal (North West), to science road shows in Mossel Bay (Western Cape)and quiz workshops in Alice (Eastern Cape), the week promises to excite South Africans from all walks of life about the endless possibilities presented by science and technology.
“The Department aims to use this week to make science and mathematics attractive to the youth and to raise awareness in parents and schools, which have a strong influence on subject and career choices,”” says Minister Hanekom.
The Minister urges South Africans to get involved in this year’s activities and find out about the benefits of STEMI for South Africa’s economic development and sustainability.
Part of the Department’s drive includes a campaign to engage learners through social media platforms such as Facebook, where they can share their ideas and knowledge about STEMI on a page called National Science Week South Africa.
The Department hopes to see a significant increase in both learner and general public participation and, most importantly, an increase in the number of learners choosing science careers. Career profiling will be offered at many National Science Week sites.
There are a number of successful South African scientists around the world who are doing amazing things, like Siyabulela Xuza, a 23-year-old from Mthatha in the rural Eastern Cape, who is currently studying in the United States of America.
Siyabulela’s passion for science, which has seen him win international science and engineering accolades, began with experiments in his mother’s kitchen. Today, he has a minor planet named after him 23182 Siyaxuza circles the solar system in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter.
There are many other home-grown innovators and inventors who will be profiled during National Science Week to show South Africa’s STEMI potential and inspire more people to become involved in this exciting sector.