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SUNCEP and Expo for Young Scientists: 20 years of proudly making a difference
Author: Mrs Erika Hoffman
Published: 14/10/2019

​In 2019 the Stellenbosch University Centre for Pedagogy (SUNCEP) celebrated 20 years of coordinating the Stellenbosch regional Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. During this time a total of 5 503 learners, displaying 3 298 projects, have participated at the regional level. Over 20 year 415 learners with 332 projects have represented the region at the national Expo.  Of these 332 projects, 269 won medals, 52 projects won special prizes and 16 projects were appointed as best in their category.  In this time 21 learners from Stellenbosch region have also represented South Africa in overseas Science competitions!

From 24 – 27 September 2019 the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) took place at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg. The ISF brought together the brightest young scientists from across South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda.

Learners competed in 13 categories that included Agricultural science, Chemistry, Computer science, Energy, Environmental studies, Engineering and Social sciences. The Stellenbosch region's learners managed to secure three bronze medals, eight silver medals, one gold medal, one learner was a category winner.

Stellenbosch-region won four special prizes:

  • Mgutsi Batandwa was awarded bursaries from Eskom and Siemens for his project on developing a low budget virtual class platform. 
  • Katleho Baartman received a tablet and a R25 000 upgrade for the laboratory at his school, Zwelethemba High School for his project that developed a prototype spectacle to aid the blind around obstacles. 
  • Chilandri Muller investigated the influence of Magnesium on ATP production in mitochondria and the Royal Society of Chemistry awarded her research with a R8 000 special prize.

​“Participating in the competition not only equips learners with solid science and technology skills but also helps them to settle on a future career path, supplement their life skills and growing their confidence. Expo is about bringing change in the way children think about science and their career choices and to instil critical, out-of-the-box thinking. It is about investing in learners because they are our future, they are the ones who need to come up with the solutions for the current problems in the world."