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In its commitment to promote science, engineering and technology to high school learners, the Student Recruitment unit at the Durban University of Technology recently hosted the 2023 DUT Science Show at Isandlwana Technical High School in Gingindlovu.

Student Recruitment hosted the Science Show to engage with Grade 10 to 12 learners who are studying Science and Mathematics subjects, and for Grade nine learners who are about to choose their mainstream subjects for Grade 10, to encourage them to choose Science and Mathematics. The Student Recruitment unit team invited the DUT’s Science, Mathematics and Technology departments to present to the pupils about the various career paths they can venture into if they further their studies in the fields of Science and Mathematics.

The Science Show was not just for Isandlwana Technical High School learners, but also for learners from surrounding schools. High School principals, teachers, DUT Faculty reps, Staff members from : Applied Sciences, Health Sciences, Management Sciences and Accounting and Informatics and DUT alumnus from Engineering and Health Sciences were in attendance.

DUT’s Student Recruitment Officer and Project leader for the event, Mr Michael Zulu who was also the programme director for the event said, it is DUT’s strategic objective to promote entrepreneurship and self-sustainability culture amongst our people. Our speakers are a true reflection of that.  Isandlwana Technical High School principal, Mr Bhekinhlanhla Nodolo welcomed everyone in attendance to the exciting show. The principal said he was very thrilled about the event. Mr Nodolo acknowledged, appreciated, and recognised the effort made by the institution on their outreach programmes. He continued to say an event of this nature is expected to happen in schools that are in suburban areas but for DUT to choose their school that is in a rural area means a lot to him. He wished back in his days they had privilege for such programmes to be hosted for them.

Mr Zulu motivated the learners on the importance of self-respect and knowing themselves.

Student Recruitment manager, Mr Alex Mdletshe touched base on the importance of excelling in their Science and Mathematics subjects as this will open a lot of doors for them and they will have a variety of courses they could pursue a career in. “What keeps us awake at night as higher education intuitions is the declining number of Mathematics and Physical Science learners in basic education. According to the statistics release by Department of Basic Education in year 2022, the maths participation in Grade 12 nationally has been declining – from 2018 to 2021 the number of pupils taking the subject dropped from 45.6% to 36.8%. In year, 2021 and 2022 The DUT could not meet enrolment targets in Faculty of Engineering and also struggled in other programmes that takes Mathematics and Physics. This is because of a shrinking market for learners on science stream and this should not only worry universities but everyone including government and industries that we produce for”. Mr Mdletshe said DUT does not only focus on ensuring their graduates are employable, but they make sure that graduates are able to develop themselves and create employment in their communities.

Mr Sibusiso Maphumulo who is a Designer and Project engineer at Mineral-Loy presented on how choosing Mathematics and Science as his mainstream subjects opened doors for him. He urged the learners to learn new skills more, especially the problem-solving skill. He mentioned that studying Science and Mathematics makes one to have many career options, helps one understands everything that happens around them and it requires someone who is innovative and creative. He motivated the learners to work hard and to practice Mathematics every chance they get.

DUT’s laboratory technician, Mr Sandile Sithole demonstrated science experiments using chemicals for the learners. Mr Sithole urged the learners to focus on themselves and study further. “Science and Mathematics is fun,” said Mr Sithole.

Department of Information Systems Senior Lecturer, Mr Ebrahim Asmal presentation focused on Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). He mentioned that the world is experiencing 4IR and it is important for one to have skills in the technological space as the 4IR requires individuals to have these skills. He further added by saying companies are now replacing humans with robots as it 4IR. Mr Asmal encouraged the learners to be open-minded and consider a career in the technological field. Mr Asmal was joined by the Information Systems to showcase their robotics.

Dr Khanyisile Khumalo, DUT’s alumna, chiropractor and businesswoman motivated the learners to chase their dreams and not limit themselves. Dr Khumalo said the learners can achieve anything if they are passionate enough about their dreams. She went on to say, she now owns many businesses, but all were made possible by her Chiropractic Degree. “Coming from a poor background, one had to work very hard to achieve what, I have achieved till now”.

Professor Megandhren Govender, Department of Mathematics Senior Lecturer showcased his science experiments to the learners. The showstopper had all learners on their feet. This part of the programme was educational and exciting.  The learners were amazed and happy to be part of the programme. The Science Show was beyond their expectations and showcased that Science can be fun.

Isandlwana Technical High School Grade 12 learner, Thobeka Zikhali said she is grateful for the Science Show that DUT has hosted for them. She said that she had learnt that if one is a student, one must always have ideas in one’s mind and think outside the box. “As a person, you can not only depend on searching for employment but also need to create job opportunities to upskill your own community,” she stressed.

“This was a beautiful event, very informative. For me, it is going to help our learners a lot in terms of building up the love for science and choosing streams in Grade 10 that will have Science and Mathematics. I was particularly happy with mostly all the presentations; they were on point and my wish and hope is that all that was done here has not fallen on deaf ears. This programme will help our learners a lot, especially those in the science field,” said Mr Nodolo.

Pictured: DUT Student Recruitment staff with the guest presenters at the event.

Sibahle Ngcobo

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