Olympiads and competitions are used as a tool to identify and nurture talent in SET and it is vital to embark on these types of activities at primary school level to build analytic skills in mathematics and science from an earlier age.

Mathematical and scientific knowledge is hierarchical in nature and, therefore, strong prior knowledge is critical for conceptual development. Considering this, NRF|SAASTA introduced the Natural Science Olympiad™ to grade 4 to 9 learners in 2011 with the aim of stimulating interest for participation in the NRF|SAASTA National Science Olympiad™, which includes several elements that further nurture talent that could ultimately feed into the STEMI industry.

Who is the Olympiad Coordinator

The Natural Science Olympiad is coordinated by the Science Education Division of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement; a business unit of the National Research Foundation.

Why should I participate

Learners are encouraged to participate to improve academic performance; test their knowledge against peers; and to be empowered with the knowledge that is not necessarily taught in class. In addition, the top 100 participants are invited for further development during a trip to Gauteng, where they are exposed role modeling campaigns and industry excursions, amongst others

Whom we target

Grade 4 to 9 learners from schools based in South Africa and the South African Developing Countries (SADC).

What are the entry requirements

Educators enter the Olympiad on behalf of their learners by submitting a completed entry form directly to NRF|SAASTA or to their provincial Mathematics, Science, and Technology (MST) Coordinators. No individual entries from learners are accepted. The entry form can be downloaded from www.saasta.ac.za.

How does it work

Exam papers are couriered to participating schools on the scheduled date. The participants then engage in a paper- based, curriculum-aligned examination that consists of 100 multiple choice questions in the Natural Sciences stream. The answer sheets are then collected from the schools and moderated by an independent body. Subsequently, the results are then communicated to each school.

What will it cost

The entry fee is R10.00 per learner.

What am I awarded

Each learner who achieves a mark of 50% and over, receives a participation certificate. In addition, the top 30 learners are invited to an award ceremony, where the top achievers are awarded with the latest technological gadgets based on their performance.

Competition timelines

The examination is written during the second week of May each year, followed by the award ceremony in October.


Tebalo Tsatsi
Project Coordinator
Email tebalo@saasta.ac.za
Call +27(0)12 392 9366