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Science Week kicks off in 89 SA centres

From 30 July to 4 August 2012, the annual National Science Week will be celebrated at more than 89 sites around South Africa, including science centres throughout the nine provinces.

Led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the events will be organised in collaboration with higher education institutions, science centers, other government departments, non-governmental organisations and science councils, under the theme “The Role of Science and Technology in Economic Development””.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, has encouraged parents, learners and teachers to make sure that learners visit a National Science Week site closer to their homes.

“”Science and technology are in everything that we do and their role in the economic development of a country often goes unnoticed. South Africans need to understand the extent to which science and technology have benefited the economy and encourage our youth to explore careers in these sectors and eventually add value to the economy,‚”” said the Minister.

National Science Week (NSW) 2012 aims to focus attention on the important role that science plays in people’s everyday lives:

The Department of Science and Technology, in collaboration with many other stakeholders and role players in the science system, uses NSW to

· contribute to the development of a society that values and appreciates science, engineering and technology (SET):

· provide a platform for scientists to engage with each other and with the non-scientific community:

· promote partnership between the media and scientists:

· profile the work of the Department, including its priorities:

· attract learners to SET-based careers.

Participating in National Science Week offers communities a good opportunity to learn more about the DST’s priority areas, including what informs them. The Department has taken a number of key decisions to put South Africa on the international map and enhance its status in Africa.

A case in point is the successful South African-led bid to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope. South Africa, together with eight other African countries, will host the majority of the SKA infrastructure. National Science Week 2012 will provide the nation with an opportunity to engage in discussions about the SKA and similar other issues related to science and technology.

Learners will benefit greatly: as educational materials will be distributed include science, engineering and technology career awareness information, to help learners, particularly those below Grade 12, to plan their careers. Young people will also be encouraged to share their thoughts about science, technology and innovation on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

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