The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) in collaboration with the Motsepe Foundation hosted approximately 300 students as part of the annual National Science Week (NSW), a programme of the Department of Science and Technology, which started on 30 July 2018.
Necsa hosted approximately 2000 pupils from various schools during the week. The theme for 2018 is “Deepening Our Democracy through Science” in celebration of the centenary and the legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.
CEO of Necsa, Phumzile Tshelane, explained that Necsa’s intended goal is to stimulate public awareness of nuclear and other forms of energy, in line with the Energy Policy. This year Necsa has targeted various schools in Gauteng and Limpopo. He added that Necsa is looking forward to hosting the Motsepe Foundation schools in Gauteng, North West and Mpumalanga on Saturday, 4 August 2018.
The Motsepe Foundation and Necsa joined forces to contribute toward alleviating the national shortage of skilled personnel in the science and engineering sectors of the economy. Their shared aim is to encourage positive approaches to informing and educating the general public and students and to create awareness on peaceful and medical uses of nuclear. Read more: Youth development should be a priority in determining our energy mix
Co-Founder, Deputy-Chairperson & CEO of the Motsepe Foundation, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, said: “Investing in education for young girls gives them a better job and career opportunities. As the world moves towards artificial intelligence, this is the ideal time to encourage young girls to study subjects in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields so that they are not left behind in the rapidly changing world. The Women’s Unit of Motsepe Foundation has partnered with Necsa to encourage girls from grade eight to pursue STEM subjects. The Motsepe Foundation has committed more than 2000 bursaries to further help young people when they complete matric to pursue such careers.
"Girls in STEM is a project of Motsepe Foundation that seeks to encourage more women to engage with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to prepare for the world of artificial intelligence and robotics.
"I truly believe that if we want to see more women participating in the Fourth Industrial Revolution we should spark their curiosity from a young age."
Edutainment activities organised and conducted during the NSW are aimed at providing a platform for scientists to engage with mathematics and science learners, attract these learners to science, engineering and technology (SET) careers (including research), as well as possible careers within Necsa.
When asked about their best experience in the week, students always highlighted the show with experiments, especially the riveting foam party! NSW is an ideal platform to expose learners to science-based careers, particularly to those from the disadvantaged sections of the population.