Learners’ interest in the sciences given a jump-start
A group of 80 learners from just about every province in South Africa took part in the Maties Science Winter Week during the first week of the school holidays. The event, organised every year by the Faculty of Science, gives high-school learners with an interest in the sciences a chance to learn more about BSc-related study programmes and career options.
For the entire week, the participants were exposed to the wide range of career opportunities available to those with a love of and an aptitude for maths, physics and life science – this according to Ms Mariétta van den Worm, chief organiser and faculty manager.
The Winter Week included discussions about the various study programmes offered by the Faculty of Science, a visit to the Cape Town planetarium and motivational and information talks. A high point was the “Appointment with a Scientist”, during which the learners could question a group of 30 people with a BSc qualification who now work in the industry, in academia and at research institutions.
The Winter Week, which was held from Sunday, 24 June, to Thursday, 28 June, was presented in collaboration with the Science Student Committee and the Centre for Prospective Students, among others.
“We find that most learners are aware only of the mainstream professions, such as those of doctors, engineers and attorneys, but few know about the people behind the scenes who make sure that our water is purified, that new textiles and paints are manufactured, that our personal data at banks are secure and that new medicines are developed,” says Ms Van den Worm.
“This is why we tell them more about the study programmes that they can follow to become – for example – a microbiologist, a laser physicist, an exploration geologist, a computer-software developer, an environmental consultant or a blood-sample analyst.”
“Given the new admissions and selection policy of Stellenbosch University, it’s becoming more and more important for prospective students to know as much as possible about all the study options before they apply to come and study here,” she says.