Highveld Ridge primary won provincial SAASTA competition

SAASTA winners who will represent Mpumalanga in the National Astro Quiz Competition. (Photo: Tumelo waga Dibakwane.

Tumelo waga Dibakwane

Highveld Ridge primary school from Secunda will be representing Mpumalanga at the 2017 Astronomy Quiz competition. They won the quiz at Penreach Shalamuka Science Centre after beating more than 40 schools.  According to the co-ordinator of the project in Enhlazeni Given Mashabane, the competition is funded by SAASTA (South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement) and aimed at Grade 7 on themes around astronomy.

The competition starts from district level where Grade 7 learners compete and elimination is used until each district is left with ten schools to compete at provincial level. After that, four rounds of an interactive quiz are held and monitored by the Department of Education Officials and Penreach Science Facilitators, to gain top spot for their province.

The aim of the competition is to expose learners from an early age to mathematics, science and astronomy. When choosing their careers there are plenty of opportunities many learners are not aware of. Highveld Ridge primary school in the Gert Sibande district will be representing the Mpumalanga province at the nationals.

NewsHorn spoke to their coach Gerda Raath who is thrilled that her school made it to the finals. “These kids paid attention to everything that I was teaching them. The school has been very supportive and made sure that we have everything we needed to prepare ourselves for the competition” she said.

Phindo Malinga (13) from the winning team said that the competition was tough from the start but she’s happy that all their hard work has paid off. She now believes that their school will also win the nationals competition.

“The competition was an eye opener career wise as most of us want to be doctors and lawyers while there are other careers to choose from like astronomy. I can even see the importance of maths and science and from now on I will take it more seriously” she said

The event was attended by the acting Director of Mathematics Science and Technology (MST) Elijah Nkosi, who encouraged all participants to always choose science and mathematics as their first choice as it will open lot of doors for them.

“I believe that you have learned a lot from this competition even if you didn’t win, but the good thing about it is that you know that you can choose a career from astronomy as well. If you take science and math as subjects, even though they might be difficult, you will not go wrong,” he said.