THE innovative Blue IQ and Gauteng government corporate social investment project Smart Young Mindz is attaining more than its goal of nurturing tomorrow's science, technology, engineering and entrepreneurship whizz-kids.
The nation-building partnership project of the Gauteng government's business development arm, Blue IQ, Sowetan and the Gauteng department of education (GDE) is helping to foster a culture of learning, teaching and service.
Senior officers from the GDE's 16 districts work together with subject advisers, principals and subject teachers to establish teams of pupils in Grades 8, 9 and 10. They are encouraged to investigate economic development, alternative and renewable energy generation and entrepreneurship challenges and to generate ideas for products or services that will fill a gap in the market that could become commercially viable.
Over the past few years comedian and radio host Shonisani Ashifashabba" Muleya, an engineer, acted as mascot-cum-ambassador. He did a sterling job introducing the finer points to participants in a witty manner.
This year the awards gala will be replaced with a final expo, which will follow regional competitions. Winning teams will qualify for the finals next month.
Teachers are required to work closely with them and to mentor them to ensure that the projects are of high quality.
This process is intended to promote transparency, while giving teams an opportunity to present their projects to the judges, creating space for solid two-way interactions. The expo is a platform to showcase works and to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit among teams.