School learners have been awarded for their exceptional science and innovation research projects at the North Coast KwaZulu-Natal regional finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.
A total of 119 learners from the region gathered at the University of Zululand’s King Bhekuzulu Hall recently to showcase their innovative science, engineering and social investigations, while 61 judges who are educators, specialists and scholars in the various competition categories and Eskom Expo enthusiasts evaluated and gave scores to the 107 projects that were on exhibition.
Eskom Expo’s KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Coordinator, Nalini Dookie said: “Hosting face-to-face activities and the annual regional science fair this year, following two years of online events, has successfully stimulated interest once again in the Expo. It was really heart-warming to listen to these young researchers and innovators presenting their projects to the judges with such passion and confidence. When the youth take an active interest in using science and technology to find solutions to some of our global and local challenges, it shows creative thinking and is definitely time well spent – irrespective of whether they win any medals or prizes.”
A total of 18 learners received bronze medals, while 24 received silver and seven received gold. Learners from Arboretum Primary School received the most number of gold medals and medals overall. This year, the most number of entries were seen in the Engineering category with 46 entries. There were also a significant number of entries in the Social Science category.
The Eskom Special Award winners, who were awarded Bluetooth headsets, were: Yolande Amahle Mnxati from Grantham Park Primary School who was awarded with the Best Innovation Project. The Best Female Project went to Ebubechukwu Ibeneme also from Grantham Park Primary. Sphilile Mbuyazi from Brackenham Primary School received the Best Development Project; and Malusi Sibonelo Dube of Nogabisela High School walked away with the Best Energy Project of the day.
Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi, said: “As the funder of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, it has been a welcoming return to form to be able to host a physical expo in the region this year. It was impressive how learners, especially previously disadvantaged learners and girls, were able to develop such innovative projects while still at school, giving assurance that the future is in good hands. Eskom is investing in young scientists through Eskom Expo, which forms part of a broader Eskom strategy of skills development, investing in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) at school level.”
Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, said: “Eskom is committed to nurturing South Africa’s brightest young minds through regional science fairs, where they are able to present their innovations and exposed to the diversity of career opportunities in the scientific world. Eskom Expo remains one of our flagship corporate citizenship initiatives, through which we actively develop the innovation potential, presentation skills and competitive edge of our young scientists. Congratulations to all medal winners who we trust will make even greater strides at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF).”
Learners in the region who advance to the ISF, which will be held in December, will compete against the best performing young scientists around the country. At this prestigious event, learners stand a chance to win prizes and bursaries, along with scholarships and various opportunities. Learners also stand a chance to be selected to showcase their research or innovation in an international science fair in the United States of America, Asia, Europe and the rest of Africa.
For more information on the North Coast KZN region, contact: 084 616 3273