Minister congratulates SA research stars

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has applauded two young research stars from Carnarvon High School in the Northern Cape, who were selected to represent South Africa at the International Student-Teacher Conference in Nice, France.

The Grade 11 learners, Amy-Lee Visagie and Chrislin de Koker, flew out this morning after winning the National Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP) competition.

The pupils submitted a research piece on astronomy tourism and how the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) near Carnarvon in the Northern Cape contribute to the local communities.

Kubayi-Ngubane said the Department of Science and Technology is proud that young people are taking up the opportunities brought by the building of the SKA, which is a major scientific development in South Africa.

“It is encouraging to see the enormous impact that the scientific activities around the Karoo region are having on people’s lives.

“The two astronomy projects have seen many young people benefiting through scholarships and job opportunities here and abroad. It is now encouraging to realise the tourism potential the projects have in South Africa, as demonstrated by Amy-Lee and Chrislin in their research.

“The two will fly the South African flag high in France and their participation in the conference will go a long way towards attracting much needed investment into our country,” said the Minister.

The GTTP is a multi-country educational programme to introduce tourism students to career opportunities in the sector.

South Africa is a GTTP member country and Carnarvon High School was selected as the winning school in the country for 2018. Other member countries include Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom. The USA is an affiliate member.

The pupils, accompanied by their teacher Christo Fieland, will join national teams from 13 GTTP member countries at the GTTP International Student-Teacher Conference on Saturday, 1 December 2018. The pupils were assisted in their research by the National Research Foundation, a DST entity.

In July this year, Deputy President David Mabuza and Minister Kubayi-Ngubane launched the completed 64-dish MeerKAT, a precursor to the SKA.

Until the completion of the SKA, the MeerKAT is the world’s biggest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world.

While the MeerKAT is a radio telescope, SALT is an optical telescope. –