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Deepening Democracy through Science: UWC-SLCA Science Roadshow for National Science Week 2018

Author: Nicklaus Kruger & Aidan van den Heever

A strong democracy depends on a wide understanding of - and appreciation for - the benefits of science, technology and innovation - which is why UWC’s Science Learning Centre for Africa is hosting a science roadshow for National Science Week 2018.

(Published - 31 July 2018)

“Science and technology are vital drivers of human progress, vital to confronting issues like global climate change, poverty and scarce resources,” says Prof Shaheed Hartley. “South Africa is faced with many challenges, and one of our main hopes of finding a solution is through science.”

Prof Hartley is the Director of the University of the Western Cape’s Science Learning Centre for Africa (UWC-SLCA). UWC-SLCA has scheduled a series of science enhancement events to promote National Science Week 2018 from Saturday, 28 July to Friday, 3 August 2018.

Most of the science activities will be geared to promote the NSW theme for 2018: “Deepening our democracy through science”, celebrating the way the understanding and employing science can enlighten a society and empower its citizens.

UWC-SLCA staff will conduct a science roadshow at schools on the West Coast of the Western Cape, from Algeria and Graafwater, to Vredendal.

“We need more young people who understand and are excited about science, who are willing to find new knowledge, to test what we have always thought to be true, and to help deal with the challenges we face in South Africa and around the globe. And we have to be creative in providing learners with opportunities that will draw their interest and willingness to learn.”

Part of that creative approach to sharing science involves meeting would-be scientists in their native environment - which is why the team is visiting 11 schools, and one shopping mall, to promote science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) as career paths.

At each stop, a series of science promotion events, exhibitions and science-related activities will be held with school learners, and the public in general.

The UWC-SLCA National Science Week 2018 Roadshow schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday, 29 July: Laguna Mall (Langebaan)
  • Monday, 30 July: Langebaan Primary School (Langebaan) + Noordhoek Primary School (Velddrif)
  • Tuesday, 31 July: Engelbrecht NGK Primary School (Elands Bay) + PW de Bruin Primary School (Lamberts Bay) + Graafwater Primary School (Graafwater)
  • Wednesday, 1 August: Grootkloof Primary School (Algeria) + Sederberg Primary School (Clanwilliam) + Clanwilliam Secondary School (Clanwilliam)
  • Thursday, 2 August: Vergenoeg RK Primary School (Vredendal) + Vredendal-Noord Primary School (Vredendal) + Vredendal Secondary School (Vredendal)

Other science promotion activities will be concluded on the UWC campus and in the surroundings schools. All activities will be focused on improving an awareness of and involvement in science - and a general understanding and appreciation for the value added by science.

A Week To Celebrate Science in South Africa

National Science Week (NSW), an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), is an annual event aimed at celebrating the role that science, mathematics, engineering and technology play in everyday life, and encourages more young people to follow careers in these fields.

A countrywide celebration of science involving various stakeholders and role players in science, engineering and technology, NSW is intended to expose learners, educators, parents and the public to science careers, opportunities and events - particularly in disadvantaged sections of the population.

“National Science Week is an important initiative for getting young minds - and older minds as well - to think about science, and the role it plays in our lives,” Prof Hartley notes. “And hopefully it can also inspire some of those minds to go on to develop the scientific discoveries and techniques needed for the future.”​​​​​​

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