INSPIRING LEARNERS TO PURSUE CAREERS IN STEM
To inspire learners in the John Taolo Gaetsewe Municipal District to pursue careers within the fields of Science, Engineering, and Technology, the Stellenbosch University Science Technology in Electronics Programme (SUNSTEP) was launched on the 8th of May and is being implemented in 10 schools across the region. The aim of the programme is to provide learners with hands-on training, to enable them to build their own electronic kits, enhance their understanding of STEM concepts, and improve their performance in science.
Funded by Kathu Solar Park, the programme will be implemented in collaboration with Stellenbosch University and focuses on Grade 9 learners. Learning about electronic components forms part of their Technology subject curriculum. The programme will run for approximately four months, during which time the learners will gain a much better understanding of the electronics concepts that is learned .
“The SUNSTEP has trained many educators and learners in the Western Cape and Gauteng, with the roll out in this municipal district being the first for the Northern Cape. By incorporating this programme into learner’s curriculum, SUNSTEP offers a fresh perspective and broadens their understanding, highlighting the potential for a wider range of educational and career opportunities,” stated Cheryl Persensie, Economic Development Manager at Kathu Solar Park.
In addition, 350 learners and 24 educators, across the 10 schools, will be provided with electronic kit components, tools, and practical training (both learners and teachers) on how to build their own mobile charger using a solar panel as a power supply. The charger will be able to power an electronic tablet as well as a torch or camping light that uses a USB cable. This hands-on approach encourages learners to get excited about Science and Technology and the various STEM career opportunities.
“According to the Department of Education, the SUNSTEP is welcomed as it will assist in improving learning outcomes and increase participation in Science. Furthermore, we intend to monitor the impact of the project during and after implementation to determine the need for expansion to more schools in the district,” concluded Persensie.
Kathu Solar Park, through its leading Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology, commenced operations on 30 January 2019, to deliver renewable energy to South Africa’s national grid.
Located in the Northern Cape Province, it is one of a few projects of its type in the country, and forms part of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Programme, delivering jobs, socio-economic benefits and clean power.
The shareholders consist of Engie; the Government Employees Pension Fund (PIC); SIOC Community Development Trust; Revego; ; Lereko Metier