Six students to represent SA in international youth science forums

July 22nd, 2014, Published in Articles: EngineerIT


Four South African Grade 12 pupils will attend the 2014 London International Youth Science Forum, and two grade 11 pupils will participate in the Australian National Youth Science Forum after coming out tops in the National Science Olympiad. 

Minister Naladi Pandor: "South Africa needs to train more scientists"

Minister Naledi Pandor: “South Africa needs to train more scientists.”

Congratulating the winners the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, said in her keynote address that the Olympiad is much more than a science and biology examination competition but the jewel in the crown of our Youth into Science strategy, which is all about identifying and nurturing talent. “There’s much to be proud of in South African science. We boast a long list of impressive inventions – from early tools for collecting, cutting up and storing food, to traditional medicines, medical apparatus, attack helicopters, vuvuzela horns and articulated dump trucks. We are particularly renowned for breakthroughs in the medical field, which include heart transplant procedures and the development of the computer axial tomography (CAT) scan, which led to breakthroughs in X-ray scanning. “

The Olympiad aims to contribute towards excellence in science among learners and to encourage them to take up careers in science, engineering and technology.  Just under 30 000 learners in grades 10 to 12 wrote either the physical sciences or life science paper on 3 March 2014.

“Although  we are internationally competitive and recognised in astronomy the minister said that South Africa needs to train more scientists. She announced that to support this government is increasing investment in research and development, and particularly investment in the renewal and modernisation of the infrastructure devoted to science and technology. “

The learners who will attend the London Science Olympiad are:

  • Thomas Orton of Bishops High School in Cape Town who achieved the best overall marks in physical sciences
  • Ishaaq Lakhi of Raisethorpe Secondary School in KwaZulu-Natal who achieved the best overall marks in life sciences
  • Bataung Mohapi, African Leadership Academy, Gauteng., who achieved the best marks in physical sciences in Grade 11:
  • Rebecca Rogers, Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard, Western Cape, top girl learner in life sciences.

Two learners have been selected to attend a Science Focus Week in Australia in January 2015:

  • Hamandishe Mathivha of Mbilwi Secondary School, Limpopo and Danielle Vellema of Outeniqua High School in George, Western Cape.

The next big youth science event is the Eskom Expo for young.  More than 60 000 learners from schools in 26 regions around the country submit their science projects, exhibiting research, design, entrepreneurship, innovation and inventiveness at the regional Expos, with over a thousand learners participating in the national finals.

To stimulate the direct involvement of sponsors in  the  Expo for young scientists  Dr. Stafford Smithies, supported by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers MD, introduced the Kelvin Awards at the national finals of Expo in 2010. Last year the programme was renamed as the Hendrik van der Bijl Awards in recognition of Dr. van der Bijl’s contribution to science and engineering on many fronts.

Last year industry supported the Hendrik van der Bijl awards with R122 000 in prize money, in addition to awards in kind such as a Raspberry Pi computer, equipment vouchers and an opportunity to qualify for a Square Kilometre Array bursary. To streamline the handling of award funds, EE Publishers will this year again administer the financial aspects of the awards programme free of charge.  Companies and individuals are invited to invest in our youth by sponsoring awards for the 2014 Expo for Young Scientists. The national finals will be held from  6 to 11 October 2014.

Endow the future of your company and South Africa by investing in our youth! The 2014 Awards programme needs to be finalised by 31 August 2014 so please pick up the phone and make your commitment.

Contact Stafford Smithies, 082 785 0195 , or Hans van de Groenendaal, 082 781 4631,

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