Nontembiso Ramabele, Refuoe Faltein, Lulama Ntshaba, Peter Theron and Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka with two of their Chinese guides outside the exhibition hall
The Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition (BYSCC) is an initiative supported by the Beijing Association for Science and Technology (BAST), which aims to encourage innovation and its application, and to promote a scientific culture among learners from different China districts and from around the world.
Collaboration between BAST and SAASTA allows two learners, an educator, a Department of Education staff member and a SAASTA chaperone to travel to Beijing each year to participate in this annual event. In 2014, SAASTA awarded this opportunity to the winners of the 2013 Learner Focus Week (LFW) in Energy. This is an annual initiative of the Department of Energy in partnership with the energy sector, to encourage learners in rural areas who are studying science and maths to enter careers in these fields. Participants in the LFW are tasked with finding solutions to energy problems.
Department of Energy Learners Focus Week
Learner Focus Week is held every year by the Department of Energy (DoE), partnering with government institutions, and private and state-owned energy-sector entities. These include the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Science and Technology, NRF (ARIC), SAASTA, Eskom, Cennergi, Siemens, CSIR, Chieta, Love life, EDU Loan, NSFAS and state-owned entities such as NNR, NERSA, NECSA, SANEDI, NNR, CEF, PetroSA, and PASA. Oil companies include Sasol, Engen, Shell, Chevron, Total and BP. These stakeholders contribute towards bursaries, adjudication, exhibitions, site visits, prizes, travel, accommodation and catering for participants.
Learner Focus Week is dedicated to redressing the imbalances of the past, and aims to play a significant role in removing barriers to learners entering the various professions. The programme provides learners with increased knowledge of energy efficiency and its benefits for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
The BYSCC event for this year was held on the 26 March – 01 April 2014.
The winners of the 2013 Learner Focus Week – Peter Theron and Refoue Faltein – were accompanied by their educator, Ms Nontembiso Ramabele; SAASTA’s representative and chaperone, Mr Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka; and Department of Basic Education official, Ms Lulama Ntshaba. Both learners participated in the Creation Competition at the BYSCC and presented their energy project prototype, abstract and poster, which were developed in collaboration with Professor Malik Maaza – from iThemba LABS – the UNESCO Africa Research Chair in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The project was one of the best in the competition and attracted a lot of interest from both local and international delegates. After days of exhibition, a presentation and evaluation by judges, the two learners were awarded the silver medal for their project – Atmospheric power pilot-plant for out-of-grid rural areas – which aims to tap lightning as a source of energy. SAASTA, on behalf of all the LFW stakeholders would like to thank Professor Maaza and his team at iThemba LABS who developed the project to world class standards. SAASTA is currently planning to expose Peter and Refoue to more scientific and engineering platforms to develop their energy project further.