Guest Contributor | Feb 20, 2024 | 0
Budding scientists availed platform to showcase talented youthful minds
The National Science Fair was held in Windhoek this week, where budding scientists converged to showcase their talent.
The National Science Fair was dormant since 2016 due to financial limitations and subsequently the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual event hosts participants from all 14 regions and was organized by the Ministry of Education Arts and Culture, the National Commission and Research Science and Technology (NCRST), and the Namibian Young Scientists, with Debmarine Namibia being the main sponsor.
The fair managed to attract 54 senior secondary school projects that consisted of investigations, innovation projects as well as models, Secondary Head Judge, Connie Willemse said.
In total there were 121 projects and some of them were primary school projects.
“This year what the kids came up with is quite astounding and we are extremely impressed with the level and the quality of the presentations that we viewed,” she said.
A visibly eager 13-year-old Bradley Vrieslaar, could not contain his excitement as he paced back and forth to catch the attention of the camera so that he could showcase his project which focused on organic manure for gardening.
“The fertilizer I use comes from all farm animals and I am enjoying this science fair and believe science can take you anywhere,” he said.
While most of the project models were made out of recycled materials like plastic, and cardboard boxes, some students presented innovative projects that sought to tackle problems in their communities, many of which are water problems, considering the country’s arid status and power generation-related.
Dr. Nhlanhla Lupahla, General Manager: of Research, Science, Technology and Innovation Coordination and Support at NCRST said the fair aims to stimulate interest in young people in science, maths, and engineering to provide an educational experience through participation ins scientific research, and to give public recognition to learners for the work that they have done.
“We would emulate in the future reaching the stage where the projects become breakthroughs if they are nurtured beyond their current level to put them through as innovations for the future,” he said.
Reiterating the MD’s sentiments, Acting NCRST CEO, Albertina Ngurare, said the NCRST is considering ways to further develop these ideas and models to address the societal problems that were identified in each project.
“We have seen some projects that presented functional models for demonstration purposes of which most are promising, however, there is still a need for further work to fully prepare these projects for scaling,” she said.
Meanwhile, the minister of Education, Arts, and Culture, Anna Nghipondoka said through science fair participation, learners develop healthy mindsets such as curiosity, an open mind balanced with skepticism, a sense of responsibility and care, and respect for evidence and persistence.
“These skills are essential as they prepare learners to adapt to the rapidly changing technological world, and provide essential skills for future job opportunities in the fields of science and engineering.