Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has committed to increase the number of science centres in the country in an attempt to assist the youth “reach their full potential in the learning environment.”
Pandor opened and addressed the 6th Science Centre World Congress in Cape Town.
“We believe that science centres are among the most efficient methods accessible to assist our youth attain their full potential in an informal learning environment. There is no doubt that a network of science centres would most likely unleash the potential of millions of young African people, and promote science awareness on a continent that is swiftly adopting the digital age.
“We also value the purpose that science centres perform in teacher empowerment and in training mathematics, science and technology teachers relating to the ideal way to bring their subjects to life in the classroom. Science centres can in addition play a significant role in encouraging the youth to follow careers in science and technology, and to know which career path would be most suitable,” the minister said.
She stated the centres would be perfect for the development of “effective” outreach programmes, targeted at peri-urban and rural areas where they could offer “valuable services.”
At present, the country had 26 science centres in eight provinces and the plan was to increase the this figure.
She said that there were five key areas of public investment in sciences in South Africa which includes investment opportunities in space science and technology, biotechnology, building indigenous knowledge and technology connected with global warming.
The Science and Technology Department had created the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) to put into practice the policies of the department, and to undertake science awareness programmes of their own.
She pointed out that SA was willing to share with other African governments and non-profit organisations “the experience that we have gained in putting together and implementing policies that promote science-centre development in our region.”
The well-attended conference is being held under the theme “Science Across Cultures” and is scheduled to run for the next four days at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the summit will have many exhibitions and is bound to be propelled by robust debate and discussions.