Nurturing learners’ talent

SKA SA has used its Schools Programme to help to recruit qualified maths and science teachers, construct and equip a Cyberlab and science laboratories, provide role modelling and career guidance, and fund field trips and exchange programmes.

SKA SA partnered with Teach SA to appoint Itumeleng Molefi to teach mathematics and science at Carnarvon High School. Molefi will be attending the 2016 High School Teacher Programme at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

SKA SA has supported the hosting of a Career Day/Science Exhibition, to which a number of universities and science exhibitors were invited at Carnarvon High School. This was followed by an Internal Science Expo where some of the learners at the school exhibited their projects following the scientific method. This was in preparation for the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, in which some of the learners will participate.

As part of Science Tube, also known as the Science Without Borders Festival, SKA SA partnered with the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) for an outreach component with the community from Carnarvon.

SKA SA optical fibre trainee interns hailing from Carnarvon and surrounds, MacCalvin Kariseb, Lourence Malan, Samantha Pieterse and Austin Julius, were roped in to talk to learners and young people about study and career opportunities within SKA SA.

A week-long Science Spaza was held at Carnarvon Primary School during which the youth, astronomers and hip-hop music enthusiasts got together to  advance scientific engagement and development in the community. The learners were engaged on science education and focused on science related challenges affecting communities. The week culminated in a “Music of the Stars” talent show for the community. Learners were required to form pop-groups and perform science-themed songs. The songs were recorded live and will be made available for widespread engagement around the SKA SA telescopes.

Part of the outreach was an engagement with learners from the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in the UK via Skype link-up from Carnarvon, which was filmed by the Children’s BBC Newsround team. The team was on a visit to South Africa to film in various locations, and visited Carnarvon, the SKA SA Losberg site and surrounds for footage for four inserts aimed at explaining the SKA SA project to its audience of six to 12-year old children.

One of the world’s foremost scientists, synonymous with making science fun and entertaining for kids, Dr Graham Walker, visited the SKA SA site in the Northern Cape as part of his Science Circus Africa tour. This was coupled by visits to Carnarvon, Sutherland and Williston, where he staged interactive and entertaining science shows for school children in the towns.

Samantha Botha, one of the apprentices supported by the SKA SA shows a learner the ropes about her work.

Hip hop artist iFani entertained Carnarvon Primary School learners during the Science Spaza.