SMART young minds have stepped up to the challenge in an innovative curriculum-boosting project open to Gauteng high schools.
Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) officials and teachers have helped enhance the curriculum-aligned Smart Young Mindz Challenge, which is nurturing tomorrow's science, technology, engineering and entrepreneurship whizz-kids.
Its partners are the Gauteng government's business development arm, Blue IQ, Sowetan and the GDE.
Over the past years top comedian and radio show host Shonisani Ashifashabba Muleya, - who is a qualified engineer, was used as the challenge's mascot-cum-ambassador.
He did a sterling job during road shows around Gauteng schools, introducing the finer points to participants in a witty manner.
Pupils then submitted projects related to the formulation of business, marketing and promotion ideas linked to the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and the formulation of alternative power generation sources, among other things.
Senior officers from the GDE's 16 district offices have worked together with subject advisers, school principals and subject teachers to establish teams of pupils in Grades 8, 9 and 10.
These officials are Jeanne van der Merwe, Elize Langenegger, John Clerk, Titus Alexander, Ryk van Romburgh, Benedict Moeng, Leon Fourie, Phephi Vilakazi, Agnes Tsotetsi, Majane Nhlapo, Grizelda van Wyk, Ngaka Motaung, Cecil Evans, Gideon Kok, Shonisani Nemakonde, Shanty Munsammy, Mzamane Nhlapo, Millie Viljoen, Galeboe Mogari, Patrick Ntenjwa, Finky Sefako, Sophia Molope, Moserwa Phalatse, Breakfast Matjokane, Sonke Mlotha, Mzamane Nhlapo and Sonto Maseko.
Pupils have been 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.
In turn, the districts held mini exhibitions where the participating teams' projects were evaluated. Subsequently three winners each from each district have been chosen.
These winners will participate in the challenge's finals which will be held in the form of an expo.
Winners will be announced in August and the top three prizes make up a whopping R112 500.
l First prize is R45 000. Each pupil receives R7 500 and their school receives R7 500.
l Second prize is R30 000. Each pupil receives R5 000 and their school also receives R5 000.
l Third prize is R15 000. Each pupil receives R2 500 and their school also receives R2 500.