Science for change
On the 27th of July, the Northern Cape Province hosted the annual National Science Week of 2019 at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley. The event is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Northern Cape Department of Basic Education, Sol-Plaatje University and the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement.
National Science Week runs simultaneously in all nine provinces and is a countrywide project that aims to raise awareness, popularise and promote an understanding and appreciation for science and technology in society.
Each year a different theme is chosen and for this year the theme is “facing the harsh realities of climate change”. The event spans over a week of activities in science, technology and engineering which include lectures, presentations, workshops and exhibitions of some pioneering inventions by young learners in the field of science and maths.
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande during his key note address said that science week is an opportunity for South Africans to showcase their innovations and encouraged young learners to continue working hard in maths and science studies, “Learners should not fear these subjects and see them as difficult subjects, science and maths can be fun. We need more scientists in our country if we are to ensure a faster economic growth and development of our country,” he remarked.
The minister believes in the country’s potential to be competitive players in science and technology internationally. He further discouraged educators from making learners switch from science and maths to other subjects in order to ensure a good pass rate for their respective schools.
The Sol-Plaatje University plays a pivotal role in ensuring tomorrow’s scientists in creating careers that will coincide with the shift to the 4th industrial revolution. The post-apartheid university which is still a growing development and has been in existence for merely six years, is the only university on the African continent that offers an undergraduate qualification in data science.
Dr Tendai Musvuugwa, a scientist from the Sol-Plaatje University gave an insightful presentation on the effects of climate change on the environment entitled, “I am a fully-fledged scientist”. Her presentation highlighted the extreme weather events than are occurring in South Africa and how human interference is speeding up the rise in temperature which has a disastrous effects on the environment and human life. She stated that, South Africa has seen more droughts, floods and a rise in sea levels.
Exhibitors of significant innovations were present to showcase their creative inventions giving a glimpse of the rich talent the province has and what the future holds as the world shifts to technology and science for better change.