Profile: Sethato Lydia Maputle’s Eskom Expo journey

Sethato Lydia Maputle remains passionate about her role within Eskom Expo due to its impact on young scientists, the skills that these learners acquire, the confidence, the love of science and self-driven individuals who change to see the possibilities around them.

Lydia, Eskom Expo Regional Science Fair Director (RSFD) in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda region (Potchefstroom), was elected the new RSFD representative on the Expo Board of Directors last year, as the region was also celebrating 26 years with the organisation in 2022.

“I remain a volunteer at the Eskom Expo because of the passion that I have for science and the impact that I observed Expo having in the lives of young minds. Expo changes the lives of learners forever. Once they participate, they are never the same,” said Lydia.

“In my tenure as Regional Co-ordinator (since 2010), my young scientists managed to be selected to be part of the Young Scientists congress across the globe. This includes science fairs in the following countries: USA, Turkey, Taiwan, Beijing and Namibia. They all managed to scoop medals ranging from 1st position, to 3rd position”, that is silver to gold medals internationally.

Born in the Nokaneng Village in the Dr James Moroka Municipality (Moretele 2) in Mpumalanga, Lydia is a dedicated, driven, ambitious and hard working mother of three beautiful daughters. She is passionate about empowering the youth through coordinating, participating-in and initiating youth development activities.

“In my spare time, I like to keep fit, and thus attend some group exercises at the gym. My favourite exercise is Yoga as it greatly benefits the mind, body and soul. Furthermore, I like to stimulate my mind through reading articles on healthy living. I’m a devout believer of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and spend time meditating and watching gospel teachings on YouTube,” she said.

Lydia is currently employed by the North West Department of Education in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda district, J.B. Marks sub district as a curriculum advisor for Natural Sciences and Technology (Grades 4 – 9).

“I have been working for the Department of Education for 26 years. I started my career in 1996 as a Grade 10 – 12 Physical Science and Mathematics teacher in various high schools across the North West region. In 2005, I became a Physical Science Curriculum Advisor in Klerksdorp until 2010. I have been with Eskom Expo since the start of my career in education in 1996 and served in various committees at different levels from sub-district to National level. My appointment as the Regional Co-ordinator of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in Dr Kenneth Kaunda was in 2010 to date,” she said.

A key observation Lydia has made over the years while serving in the Expo is transformation. She said there has been a significant growth in terms of the calibre of participants. Learners from lower and higher quintile schools have been embraced and encouraged to participate in the competition over the years.

“It has been fulfilling to witness the opportunities and achievements being spread across to accommodate scholars from different regions in South Africa, particularly schools in deep farming areas, villages and townships. The encouragement of girl learners to embrace Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education is of paramount importance, and I have been privileged to have been tasked with the responsibility to manage the Girl Learner Programme for Mathematics and Science project from 2005 to 2013,” she said.

Moving forward, Lydia said it would be better if supplementary intervention can be availed for learners that have been discovered through the Expo.

“This will enable a platform for the recipients to be nurtured throughout their schooling years leading to tertiary education in STEM fields. A number of innovative young minds are unveiled through Expo, but then they just disappear into this world as there is no follow-up or nurturing to keep them encouraged throughout their schooling years,” she added.

Registration to take part in Eskom Expo is currently open. Learners in grades 4 to 12 can register their projects by clicking here. Click here to access resources and easy-to-use templates to assist with projects. Learners are encouraged to work with their teacher when registering. If you encounter problems, send an email to: support@exposcience.co.za.

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