The best of South Africa’s senior high school science learners will be jetting off to the UK this month to the London International Youth Science Forum, after scoring top marks and being recognised at the 51st National Science Olympiad awards last week.

The National Science Olympiad, hosted by South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and the Department of Science and Technology, aims to contribute towards excellence in science among learners in grades 10 to 12 and to encourage them to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology.

Learners competing in the Olympiad are required to write papers in various categories under Physical, Natural or Life Sciences. The top scoring learner in each category is awarded a prize and chosen to represent South Africa at the international science festival.

These are the winners going to London, as well as the categories they came top in:

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A special award was also given to grade 12 learner and regular National Science Olympiad participant, Hamandishe Mathivha from Venda’s Mbilwi Secondary School, a school known for producing outstanding young scientists.

Mathivha has participated in the Olympiad for three consecutive years and previously won in a category back in 2013. This year he came second in the Physical Science category, scoring 73%.

The young man received a R40 000 grant towards furthering his studies in any course and university of his choice after finishing matric.

“The focus of the Olympiad programme was on expanding the quality of and success in science in order to help address the development challenges South Africa was facing,” said minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor in a press statement. “Global scientific endeavour requires the contributions of all regions, especially the developing world, which was excluded in the past.”

[Source and image – Department of Science and Technology]