|Contents / home|
|Special award for Limpopo learner|
|National Science Olympiad Awards|
|Youth Science Focus Week|
|Showing career opportunities to girls|
|Africa Code Week|
|FameLab International Competition|
|My FameLab experience|
|Debates winners off to New York|
|Finding solutions to energy problems|
|Centenary of Proxima Centauri|
|Meet SAASTA's Gao Tiro|
|Refocusing our lens on our youth|
|Science on a research vessel|
|Partnership to conserve water|
|Managing freshwater resources|
|Rhodes and SAIAB promote science|
|In the news|
|It's a fact!|
SAASTA National Schools Debate Competition: Finding creative solutions to our energy problem*
Have you had to do some of your work in the dark lately? Have you been late for something because you were stuck in traffic when the traffic lights were out?
We can probably all say that in some way we have experienced the effects of load-shedding and the electricity crisis in our country. On top of it, we are being told it's here to stay for a while. So that got us thinking that we should start talking more about how our country is going to solve this problem, and stop just moaning about it when the lights go out.
With this in mind, the top ten schools selected for the SAASTA Schools Debates Competition in each province across South Africa were asked a relevant question when they competed in this year's provincial competitions. They debated whether biotechnology could be part of the solution to providing electricity to the country.
The SAASTA Schools Debates are different from other debating competitions in that while other debating competitions focus on arguing who is right and who is wrong, or who is better or worse, the SAASTA Schools Debates place emphasis on creatively finding solutions.
Each team is assigned a different perspective on which they should base their arguments. These are:
Working in groups
Part of the competition involves "imbizos" (the isiZulu word for meeting or gathering), where smaller groups can meet and discuss more specific issues that are raised. Team members can take new information learned from discussions back to the team to prepare for the closing statements. The team members also tweet and post their discussions on Facebook.
Using nature to find solutions
Biotechnology aims to find innovative solutions to current world problems through biology, and uses materials and organisms already found in nature in the production of valuable products such as biodiesel, microbial fuel cells and biohydrogen. These were just some of the aspects that the teams had to research in order to be able to come to a debate about biotechnology and energy.
The winners of each of the provincial rounds will compete in the national competition in October. The top schools in each province are: