The University of Venda (UNIVEN)’s Vuwani Science Resource Centre held the official opening of the 2019 National Science Week (NSW) under the theme ‘Facing the harsh realities of climate change’. This official opening was held on Monday, 29 July at Vuwani Science Resource Centre and the science week is currently underway until Friday, 02 July 2019.
Primary and secondary schools in Vhembe district will be visiting the Vuwani Science Resource Centre to showcase their innovative ideas and projects that can reduce the increase in temperature that affects the world which is caused by the available fossil fuels energy supply that we use to produce products that we use and eat on daily basis. Some learners participating in the ESKOM Science fair during the opening highlighted that if their projects can be taken seriously, it opens opportunities to create jobs for many people in the country through small businesses which can impact the global environment.
Director Communications and Marketing, Dr Takalani Dzaga who was the Programme Director, advised grade 12 learners to apply before the closing date of 27 September. Univen application forms and prospectus were also made available for grade 12 learners to apply.
The Deputy Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Prof Peter Tshisikhawe, welcomed all the delegates and made special reference to the school learners. He told them that they are the reason for the existence of the Vuwani Science Resource Centre – to train and assist the young people to reach their potential in Science: “This centre exists because of you, without you, this centre do not exist. This is your centre and make use of it. Use it to empower yourselves.”
When doing the introduction to National Science Week 2019 and the importance of STEM Engagement, Mrs Sophie Mulaudzi from UNIVEN’s Department of Physics advised learners to make good use of the time given to them. She told learners to make use of this year’s National Science Week to empower themselves. The sudden climate change is the result of the technological inventions that we use today. “Even though we are enjoying the available technology, but the climate change has affected us and if we do not do anything about it then we should expect the worse in some years to come.”
Mrs Mulaudzi took learners through possible career choices related to science and technology that are available at tertiary level. She asked learners with brilliant ideas to bring those ideas because those ideas might assist in job creation and restoration of the usual climate.
Prof Natasha Potgieter, Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, said she was happy to see young female learners because the country needs women in science. She told learners to make good career choices for the sake of their future. “This Science Centre is reaching many communities in the Vhembe District and making a huge difference within those communities. We need more scientists in South Africa. Throughout the week we have people who will educate communities about climate change and what can be done to restore the climate.” Prof Potgieter encouraged learners to learn as much as they can because the future of this country relies on them.
Senior Prof Georges Ekosse and Prof Natasha Potgieter officially launching the VSRC National Science week
Mr Robert Tshikwama who document the indigenous knowledge represented Communities. He said they are responsible for documentation of indigenous knowledge. “We record the knowledge from record holders within rural villages.” He told the audience that this documented information will be very helpful in future. Currently Vuwani Science Resource Centre host the Limpopo Indigenous Knowledge System Documentation Centre, which is the only centre in the Province. Mr Tshikwama thanked Vuwani Science Resource Centre for giving them the resources and space to fulfill this duty.
John Toop-Rose who represented Warwick University, told learners that in the UK Science is taught at a very young age hence you will find most of the youngest scientists are from UK. He continued to express that Science has also driven most of the things in the past 20 years including the cellphones and computers that we use today. “So, science is very important to all of us and it affects all of us.” He thanked UNIVEN for allowing them to be part of this programme.
When doing a vote of thanks, Prof Georges Ekosse told learners that as they grow older, they will learn that the decisions they take affects their future. “As you grow older you will learn to respect your seniors and fellow colleagues. The 4ht Industrial Revolution is here for you and we thank South African government for the contributions in our lives and for granting free education from primary level.” Senior Prof Ekosse continued to highlight that the rest of Africa is looking at South Africa to take the lead in science.” They are looking for South Africa to take initiative and South Africa is looking at the young ones who will take this country forward, to lead in the 4th Industrial Revolution era. We thank Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal who has already started, he said Prof Marwala is a leading proof that you do not need to be from an advantaged background in order to make it in life. “You can come from a poor family but be on top.” Senior Prof Ekosse also encouraged learners to make use of the Vuwani Science Resource Centre. “The future lies in your hands, please do not spend a lot of time watching TV but building your future.”
Shalom Muthubi (13), a Grade 7 learner from Nandoni Primary school, said this Science week help them a lot because they learn about how technology and chemistry affect climate change. “We are getting more knowledge that I believe we really need.” She said this information shapes their career paths. Shalom wants to study Medicine and be a Cardiologist and help those with heart diseases.
Students from Warwick University posing for a group photo
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 01 August 2019