SA needs to train more young scientists - Pandor

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pretoria - Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor says South Africa needs to produce young scientists.

Speaking at the launch of Gauteng Science Week at the University of Pretoria on Monday, Pandor said public awareness about science, engineering and technology is her department's key priority.

"South Africa needs to train young scientists and the best place to find them is in our schools. Promoting public awareness is also important.

"For the youth of today to become the scientists of tomorrow we need to foster awareness among learners of the various careers that are available in the world of science, engineering, technology and innovation," she said.

Pandor believes that science centres have a crucial role to play not just in facilitating partnerships, but also in strengthening grass-roots science awareness campaigns.

"This is particularly important for provinces such as the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga that unlike Gauteng and the Western Cape who do not have the benefit of housing some of our country's leading universities and research facilities," she said.

She said the task of taking science to all corners of the country is a huge one that no single individual or organisation can carry out alone.

The minister said if the country is to sustain a national effort and achieve the desired results; the nation should deliberately forge quality strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, both within and outside the government innovation system.

"The cooperation between the University of Pretoria, the staff of the science centre, the South African Air Force, the Air Force Museum, students, parents and private companies involved in engineering and the servicing of jet fighters is a positive development from which we can all learn valuable lessons.

"The task of nurturing a passion for science, engineering and technology is huge," she said.
National Science Week is an opportunity for young people to explore science, engineering and technology.

To help young people make informed study choices, the department distributes thousands of booklets on science, engineering and technology careers annually.

This year, Pandor said they will distribute 50 000, while a further 20 000 will be distributed during the National Science Week.