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South Africa: Promoting Maths and Science at Unizul Science Centre
Source: SA - the Good News
Source Date: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 14, 2013

BMW South Africa has so far donated these educational display cars to three science centres in the country that are aligned to and supported by the DST, namely the Cape Town Science Centre (Western Cape) and Vuwani Science Centre (Limpopo). The Unizul is the third to receive this educational car. The Mafikeng Science Centre in the North West and the Osizweni Discovery Centre in Mpumalanga are next in line.
The Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Adv Michael Masutha said youth development was not only important to the Department, but also to the country as a whole. “The Department of Science and Technology recognises the constructive role of science centres in advancing science, engineering and technology human capital development objectives. In this regard, you may be aware that the Department has identified science centres as infrastructure through which to deliver our Youth into Science Strategy. This strategy is part of the broader initiative to build and transform the country’s science and technology human capital.”
The BMW 3 Series educational display cars were built in the pre-production stage of the new BMW3 Series at Plant Rosslyn, Pretoria in early 2012. As pre-production vehicles, they are not allowed to be registered and would have been scrapped. However BMW have put these assets to better use.
“In addition to identifying homes for these educational cars, BMW South Africa has played a meaningful role in the development of maths and science competency in under-privileged schools for the past 20 years,” said Esther Langa, Manager: Corporate Affairs for BMW South Africa.
“Through our Maths, Science and Technology Excellence (MST) Project we have been able to deploy mobile laboratories, known as BMW Centres of Excellence, to 42 participating schools that serve historically disadvantaged communities. As a result, more than 40,000 learners and 148 teachers are direct beneficiaries of this Project, which delivers maths and science pass rates around 20% higher than the national average,” said Langa.
“The donation of the BMW 3 Series educational cars was a natural extension to our commitment in this space in terms of reducing the knowledge gap in the critical areas of maths, science and technology,” says Langa. "Automobile technology makes maths and science tangible and competency in these subjects aspirational."
The Unizul Science Centre is one of the oldest and biggest science centres in the country. It was established in 1982 at University of Zululand’s Physics Department where it was initially housed in an old laboratory on the top floor of the Zoology Building. Through funding from both the DST and local industries, the facility now boasts 2,600 square metres, with a dedicated exhibit area of 1,600 square metres, a state of the art auditorium, a smaller theatre, a lab and two classrooms.
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