by Steve Maphakathe
The ESKOM Science Expo is a regional contest proudly sponsored by the North-West University's (NWU's) Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Education. The Dr Kenneth Kaunda district municipality recently played home to this year's event, which was held in the Weet and Sweet Hall on the NWU's Potchefstroom Campus.
This annual event serves as a platform for young scientists from primary and secondary schools to present their innovative research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
In addition, the ESKOM Science Expo is more than just a competition – it offers young minds an opportunity to explore their interest in STEM-related subjects and display their creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. The expo gives these young learners the chance to hear from the judges, who are experts in their professions. Experts from the Department of Education and the NWU made up the judging panel, ensuring that the young scientists’ efforts were thoroughly evaluated.
Following the selection, a highly anticipated prize-giving ceremony highlighted the young scientists' efforts. The regional competition winners are offered the chance to advance to the national competition, where they will compete against the brightest young minds across the country. The national winners will have the honour of representing the country at an international level.
The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences contributed significantly to the learning experience of participants. They arranged campus tours that enabled the learners to see magnificent buildings like the Geology Museum and the Science Centre. Such tours give the learners a window on the world of higher learning and encourage them to continue their studies in STEM-related disciplines.
All the other faculties at the NWU also took part in the ESKOM Science Expo along with the Department of Marketing and Student Recruitment. Prospective students could speak to university representatives at stalls that were put up outside the venue. This initiative gave learners insight into the many academic options and provided helpful career advice. To assist young learners in making educated choices about their future education, brochures and information about various programmes were also provided.
As we take time to reflect on how well it went, we want to express our gratitude to all the people and organisations who contributed to making this year's event a momentous success. They should be praised for their dedication to fostering the next generation of scientists, which is essential for the development of science and technology in South Africa.