A volunteer's perspective of Eskom Expo
Prof Ian Jandrell and Parthy Chetty
Ian Jandrell and Parthy Chetty hold highly respected and prominent positions on the board of the ‘Eskom Expo for Young Scientists’. They discuss the Expo with all the excitement and enthusiasm of ‘young scientists’… and one realises that such passion – not only from Ian and Parthy, but from everyone involved –will ensure the continued success of the ‘Eskom Expo’.
This year the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair has helped put hundreds of learners on the path to success by introducing them to the exciting world of science.
The Eskom Expo unearths young scientists with potential to encourage them to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) fields. By actively encouraging the youth of South Africa to pursue STEMI careers, Eskom aims to address the country's shortage of skills in the field of science.
These budding scientists were recognised and rewarded at the Eskom Expo final prize-giving ceremony on Friday 10 October.
The awards were presided over by Eskom Chairman Zola Tsotsi and Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor.
Minister Pandor said: "Every time I come to the Eskom Expo my belief in South Africa is strengthened ten times over. At the Eskom Expo we want to begin the process of identifying talent. If we pique learner's interest at a young age, it is possible to sustain it for many decades to come."
This year the following medals were awarded:
- 151 highly commended
- 253 bronze
- 176 silver
- 88 gold
Tsotsi was impressed with the standard of the projects and inspired by the attitude that the learners displayed.
He said: "At Eskom we value the important role of education, as part of the solution we have invested in training and education to drive growth. Our country relies on innovation to break the shackles of poverty and to create wealth and the learners here today have the power to create a better life for the poor."
The Eskom Expo, which is endorsed by the Department of Public Enterprises, Department of Basic Education and the Department of Science and Technology, sees learners from 31 regions across the country competing for a ticket to the prestigious Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF). From the 17 700 learners who participate at a regional level only the top 822, are selected to represent their regions at a national level.
At the ISF learners present their projects to a panel of judges that included professionals from the private, academics, scientists and educators in a bid to take home a medal or special prize or a prized ticket to an International Science Fair.
This year special awards were awarded to some of the most outstanding participants in South Africa's largest school-level science fair. The special awards are sponsored by Eskom and several other organisations and universities. Prizes include books, laptops, iPads, cash prizes and university bursaries.
The most prestigious special awards are awarded by Eskom. They each win a laptop and the development winners also win a mobile science kit to upgrade the science facilities at their schools.
Minister Pandor encouraged the learners to pursue their passion in science, she said: "Don't limit your ambitions, dream as widely as you can. There are immense challenges that confront South Africa but you can be part of resolving those challenges."
The Eskom Special Award winners were:
- Eskom Award for Best Overall Project and Best Rural Development Project: Nondumiso Mthembu, a Grade 11 learner from Newcastle High School
- Eskom Award for Best Energy Project: Jonathan Baker and Thomas Eichner, Grade 10 learners from St Stithians College
- Eskom Award for Best Energy Efficiency Project: Lize Raubenheimer, a Grade 9 learner from Wesvalia High School
- Eskom Award for Best Female: Jana Lotz, a Grade 9 learner from Bloemhof Girls High School
- Eskom Award for Best Development High School: Sebalamakgolo High School
- Eskom Award for Best Development Primary School: Isiqophamithi Primary School
This year has been another momentous year for the Eskom Expo with 477 female participants, versus 345 male participants, while learners from Mexico, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana have participated for the third year in a row.
Parthy Chetty, Eskom Expo for Young Scientists Executive Director said: "South Africa wants to establish itself as a hub of science research and excellence. In order to do that South Africa needs to be producing outstanding scientists, researchers and technicians and attract top talent from around the world. By hosting young scientists from Africa we are exposing them to the exciting world of science in South Africa and we are starting to make that vision a reality."
GENIUS Olympiad is an international high school project competition about environmental issues. It is founded and organized by the Terra Science and Education and hosted by the State University of New York at Oswego. GENIUS Olympiad 2014 will host projects in five general disciplines with environmental focus:
- GENIUS-Science: a) Environmental Quality, b) Ecology and Biodiversity, c) Resources and Energy, d) Human Ecology
- GENIUS-Art: a) Photography, b) Satirical Illustration, c) Poster Design, d) Short Film
- GENIUS-Creative Writing: a) Poetry, b) Short Story, c) Essay (non-fiction)
- GENIUS-Design: a) Architectural Design, b) Urban Planning, c) Interior Design d) Innovation
- GENIUS-Music: a) Composition b) Performance
Two finalists from South Africa participated at this event and Eskom Expo for Young Scientists congratulates the following students who received awards
Wandile Khumalo, 17, from Dundee High, Dundee, KwazZulu Natal received gold medal and a galaxy tablet in the science category.
Title of his project: A Unique Safety Device for Electrical Stoves
Tevo'n Campbell, 15, from Christian Brothers College, Boksburg, Gauteng received a honourable mention in the science category.
Title of his project: Harnessing energy from recycled material