ASSAf (Academy of Science of South Africa), representing the DSI (Department of Science and Innovation) and NRF (National Research Foundation), is delighted to announce the winners of the aforementioned competition, which was launched on 14 March 2022, on the UNESCO International Day of Mathematics under the theme “Mathematics Unites.” This special day not only celebrates the power of mathematics in our world but also provided an opportunity to engage South African school learners as part of the UN (United Nations) International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD).

The three winning schools are:

First Prize of ZAR 20,000

Qoqa Secondary School, Orange Farm, Johannesburg

About their project: Qoqa Secondary School is located in a township, as referred to by its students. The school is situated adjacent to Mshengu Road, exposing both learners and teachers to significant air and noise pollution. Additionally, burst sewage pipes exacerbate issues related to wastewater and soil contamination. In response to these challenges, the students are eager to plant approximately 200 trees around the school premises to help absorb harmful particles from the air.

2x Second Prizes of ZAR 10,000.00

Merlewood Secondary School, Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal

About their project: Merlewood Secondary School aims to raise awareness about pollution and intends to launch a recycling initiative at the school.

Meloding Secondary School, Virginia, Free State

About their project: Meloding Secondary School plans to utilize waste materials to generate income for their school while simultaneously maintaining a clean environment.

In addition to the cash prizes, these schools will also receive certificates of acknowledgment. Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to contribute articles about their projects to a future issue of Quest Science for South Africa magazine, showcasing their achievements and inspiring other learners.

The SA IYBSSD School Competition stands as a testament to the importance of basic sciences education and the dedication of South African schools in nurturing young scientific minds. It not only celebrates excellence but also encourages schools to innovate and invest in basic sciences education for a brighter future.

For more information on this competition and to explore the incredible work of the winning schools, please visit the official SA IYBSSD website.

If any scientists are interested in collaborating with any of these schools to implement their initiatives, please contact (Mrs Susan Veldsman, Director: Scholarly Publishing Programme, ASSAf).

The above initiative is one of many science engagement activities by ASSAf, engaging the wider community more fully in science and an understanding of the knowledge economy to which we aspire.