The Bloemfontein regional finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists provided a platform to more than a hundred learners to showcase their science and innovation research projects.
A total of131 learners from the region gathered at the Central University of Technology on 30 July to display their innovative science, engineering and social investigations, while 51 judges who are educators, specialists and scholars in the various competition categories and Eskom Expo enthusiasts evaluated and gave scores to the 92 projects that were on exhibition.
This regional expo was one of 35 regional expos planned in all provinces across South Africa – the first Eskom Expo physical science fairs since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the most number of entries were seen in the Environmental Sciences category with 13 entries. There were also a significant number of entries in Social Sciences and Biomedical and Medical Sciences.
A total of 56 learners received bronze medals, while 28 received silver and 14 received gold. Learners from C&N Oranje Meisieskool received the most number of gold medals and medals, overall.
The Eskom Special Award winners were Lee-Ann Britz, Danicke Grobler, Micke De Andrade, Oprah Mukhebi, Chane Hoek, Rouvé Janse van Rensburg and Tsiu Masiu. Each of these winners received a set of Bluetooth headphones for their exceptional research projects.
Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi, said: “As the funder of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, it has been a welcoming return to form to be able to host a physical expo in the region this year. It was impressive how learners, especially previously disadvantaged learners and girls, were able to develop such innovative projects while still at school, giving assurance that the future is in good hands. Eskom is investing in young scientists through Eskom Expo, which forms part of a broader Eskom strategy of skills development, investing in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) at school level.”
Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, said: “Eskom is committed to nurturing South Africa’s brightest young minds through regional science fairs, where they are able to present their innovations and exposed to the diversity of career opportunities in the scientific world. Eskom Expo remains one of our flagship corporate citizenship initiatives, through which we actively develop the innovation potential, presentation skills and competitive edge of our young scientists. Congratulations to all medal winners who we trust will make even greater strides at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF).”
Learners in the region who advance to the ISF, which will be held in December, will compete against the best performing young scientists around the country. At this prestigious event, learners chance to win prizes and bursaries, along with scholarships and various opportunities. Learners also stand a chance to be selected to showcase their research or innovation in an international science fair in the United States of America, Asia, Europe and the rest of Africa.