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Eskom opens doors for young scientists with study bursaries

Eskom opens doors for young scientists with study bursaries

Eskom awarded bursaries worth a total of R1 332 000.00 to three deserving young scientists towards studying engineering degrees at a university of their choice in South Africa. These were awarded at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF) Grand Awards ceremony.

The bright young learners were amongst the 611 finalists at the three-day 2017 Eskom Expo ISF at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg. The Eskom Expo lived up to expectations by unearthing young scientists from across South Africa and other countries around the world and was concluded with the prize giving ceremony on Friday, 6 October.

The Eskom bursary winners were:

  • Nondumiso Mdletshe  – Grade 12 – Khula High School (KZN)
  • Joshua Boa-Amponsem – Grade 12 - Empangeni High School (KZN)
  • Sindi Matlaila – Grade 12 - Khamane Secondary School (MP)

The two other top achievers were:

  • Edrich Theodor Engelbrecht, Grade 10 - Hoerskool Waterkloof (GP). Prize money: R75 000
  • Khilona Piyarlall, Grade 9 - Scottburgh High, Southern KZN. Prize money: R50 000

Eskom Expo ISF gave the young scientists an ideal platform to show their talents and passion for all things scientific. It also served as motivation for them to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) fields. Eskom aims to address the shortage of skills in science and engineering by encouraging young people to pursue careers in these fields.

In attendance and to present the prizes at the Grand Awards on day three of the Eskom Expo ISF were the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor, the interim Chairman of the Eskom Board, Mr Zethembe Khoza, Ms Elsie Pule, Eskom Group Executive HR; Mr Thava Govender, Eskom Group Executive: Transmission / Acting Group Executive: Risk and Sustainability and Mr Pieter Pretorius, Chairman of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists Board of Directors.

Speaking at the ceremony today, Minister Naledi Pandor urged the youngsters to be resolute in following a career in science, engineering or technology and to go as far as they can in their studies. “I always love coming to the Eskom Expo because it gives me a sense of what the future of our country looks like. The young scientists here are a demonstration that we as a nation can and will be a great achiever in the fields of science and technology. I was intrigued to see that all their projects seek to solve problems we are facing today and the solutions they are developing are not for their own gain but for society’s benefit. I am excited and impressed that you believe you can change the world and find it particularly pleasing that the number of previously disadvantaged learners at the expo has been growing.”

Mr Khoza said, “Eskom’s investment in mathematics and science forms a good basis for the development and advancement of the country. We have a great calibre of young people and future leaders in our midst and who knows, today’s young scientists could well be tomorrow’s Nobel Prize winners. I want you all to be proud of your journey and for making it this far, you are all winners.”

At Eskom Expo ISF, which is endorsed by the Departments of Public Enterprises, Basic Education and the Science and Technology, the learners presented their science projects to a panel of judges that included professionals from the private sector, academics, scientists and educators, and for their efforts, were awarded great prizes including tickets to other international science fairs. The conclusion of yet another exciting and inspired Eskom Expo ISF marked a successful competition which attracted participants from not only South Africa but also Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Brazil.

Mr Govender, says the Eskom Expo not only supports and contributes to the developmental goals of the government of South Africa, but has also opened its doors to other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). “This goes to show our commitment to playing an important and constructive role in advancing the continent through education. The Eskom Expo presents one of the best environments for learners to launch their careers and build our continent.”