SA pupils to compete at Beijing Youth Science Competition

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 25 Mar 2024
Team South Africa will be heading to Beijing, China this week.
Team South Africa will be heading to Beijing, China this week.

Innovative research projects developed by South African young scientists will compete against other high-tech solutions at this year’s Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition (BYSCC) to be held in China. 

According to a statement, the four young scientists, who will be accompanied by Dr Sure Mupezeni, Eskom Expo provincial coordinator for Limpopo, won their place to represent South Africa at the Beijing competition after being nominated by a panel of academics and professionals at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF) in October 2023.

Held under the theme “Discovery, Innovation and Responsibility”, the 43rd edition of the BYSCC will be hosted at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences from 28 March to 31 March.

It aims to promote the advancement of youth scientific and technological endeavours.

The competition goals include nurturing the innovation and practical skills of young participants, enhancing their scientific and technological literacy, and inspiring the emergence of more young scientists.

A total of 199 projects have been submitted by Beijing students, while 21 projects were submitted by participants from other countries, including the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, South Africa and Thailand, amongst others, says Eskom.

Acting CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation, Mologadi Motshele, explains: “Participating in the Eskom Expo offers young scientists valuable opportunities to nurture their creativity, enhance problem-solving abilities, and refine research skills, while devising innovative solutions to everyday challenges.

“When our budding scientists engage in international competitions like the BYSCC, they gain exposure to distinctive learning environments that can greatly benefit our nation. The transformative experiences awaiting these four learners will contribute to a cycle of knowledge-sharing, fostering more opportunities for aspiring young scientists to compete on a global scale and cultivating a pipeline for potential future scientists and engineers for our country.”

Kiyara Tami Swartbooi, is a Grade 12 Port Rex Technical High School learner in East London and Eskom Expo ISF Silver medal recipient in 2023. She will present her research project, “Thermal Faucet: A Smart Water Management System” which combines smart home technologies to enable energy and water conservation through an intelligent, intuitive and cost-effective solution.

Grade 12 learners, Steffan Thielen and Rohan van Loggerenberg from Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch, are the Eskom Expo ISF 2023 Gold medal recipients.

They will showcase their research project, titled: “Optimisation of Artificial Neural Network (ANN) training”.

The project answers the question: “How can the architecture of an ANN be optimised through the use of a dynamic network architecture? The learners demonstrated an in-depth understanding of ANN and artificial intelligence in general, and were able to articulate how current findings in these fields related to their research.

Nyakallo Nonjabulo Mbongo, a Grade 11 Welkom-Gimnasium learner and Eskom Expo ISF Gold medal recipient in 2023, will showcase her research project, titled: “Soil restoration, inoculated biochar?”

To improve soil quality, the project explores how small-scale farmers and gardeners can improve the quality of their crop yield by using a cost-effective, simple, and readily available inoculated biochar.