Another edition of the Google Science Fair is coming up and disappointingly, African students have again been left out from the list of global finalists.
The Google Science Fair is held annually and calls on young scientists from around the world between the ages of 13 to 18 to submit projects that provide solutions to problems in their communities.
Up to 20 finalists are selected to come to present their projects at an event at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Winners are chosen in the age group categories and one overall winner is chosen while a few others are given special awards.
Applications for the 2015 competition were opened in February this year.
Although entries are open to children across the world including Africa, it seems the competition finalists always end up featuring mostly kids from the US, followed by Canada, Asian countries such as India and Taiwan and European nations.
There can be absolutely no doubt that Africa has no shortage of brilliant youngsters in the science field, some who even go on to represent their countries at various science-related fairs and win a few prizes.
Recent examples of such are the South African teen who won awards at the Taiwan International Science Fair, a group of Nigerian girls who won first przie at an international innovation contest, the four high schoolers who were chosen to go to the London science fair and the group of 37 African kids (including 11 South Africans) who went to Intel ISEF.
The last time any African child made it to the Google Science Fair finals was in 2012 when two boys from Swaziland were there.
There may not be any particular reason why there is such a lack of diversity in terms of countries and continents represented, but it would be good to give kids from all corners of the world a chance to show what they can do on an international platform.
This year’s finalists come from the US, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, Bosnia, France, India, Lithuania, Russia and Taiwan, with the majority of them (seven) being from the US. Projects range from mealie cobs that can be used to purify water and transporting Ebola antibodies through silk.
The Google Science Fair finals will be held on the 21st of September when the overall winner will receive $50 000 (around R600 000) towards furthering their education.[Source and image – Google Education Blog]