|Contents / home|
|Bloodhound's supersonic quest|
|Deputy Minister visits SAASTA|
|SAASTA Highlights Report|
|SAASTA takes science to Beijing|
|Natural Science Olympiad|
|Community media pilot project|
|Crystallography kits for schools|
|PUB celebrates 10 years of biotech|
|Reaching visually impaired learners|
|School debate finals|
|Science communication workshops|
|KAT-7 seen as design highlight|
|Meet Nithaya Chetty|
|Eskom Expo 2014|
|SKA SA exhibits at BRICS EXPO|
|Algoa Bay Hope Spot launched|
|Inspiring environmental scientists|
|In the news|
|It's a fact!|
High school learners debate science's role in health challenges
The aim of the National Schools Debates competition is to encourage young people to address key issues around science and technology that are faced by their communities, through the medium of debate. The programme seeks to foster confidence in high school learners from Grades 9 to 11 to speak about science. It also gives participants the opportunity to develop skills in research, critical thinking and information literacy, as well as the ability to work as a team to present logical, clear arguments.
This year the following schools represented their provinces at the finals: Eastern Cape – Queen's College Boys' High; Free State – St Michael's School for Girls; Gauteng – Crawford College Pretoria; KwaZulu-Natal: Durban Girls' High; Limpopo – Thengwe High School; Mpumalanga – Suikerland Secondary School; Northern Cape – Kimberley Boys' High School; Western Cape – The Settlers High School.
The learners were asked to research and debate the following question: "In facing our current and future health challenges, do you think we should be investing in the discovery of new drugs and medicines, supported by fields such as biotechnology and crystallography?" This topic was particularly relevant given the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in our continent.
Social media adds sparkle
For the first time, social media was incorporated into the competition. This added extra appeal and relevance to the experience of its teenage participants.
Queen's College Boys' High (Eastern Cape) came out tops as the 2014 winners and was awarded the ultimate prize of a trip to New York, which includes an exciting programme of scientific exploration. The first runner up was St Michael's School for Girls (Free State) and the second runner up was Crawford College Pretoria (Gauteng), who all received prizes of Apple iPods.
The SAASTA National Schools Debates competition continues to provide learners with a platform to make scientific information relevant, through the understanding of social, cultural and economic implications. We hope that the competition will continue to steer young South African minds towards careers in science, engineering, technology and innovation.