Teamwork is the glue that holds together the Smart Young Mindz Challenge. This initiative seeks to nurture future maths, science, engineering, entrepreneurship and technology trendsetters.
Collective effort takes prominence over individualism. Senior officials from the GDE's districts and subject advisers support the teachers who in turn help to guide pupils in teams of five.
Sadly, the teachers, who are unsung heroes of this fine practical articulation of the culture of learning, teaching and service, occupy the sidelines.
They are unseen, unheard of and unheralded when their charges receive accolades.
The finals are due to be held in Johannesburg next month.
A fine example is Teddy Ntshieng, the mentor of last year's overall winners from Metropolitan Raucall Secondary School in Johannesburg: Shazia Akhalwaya, Azeezah Saloojee, Rafeeah Mangera, Mahomed Abdulla and Muhammad Kolla.
Ntshieng, who teaches technology to Grades 9 and 10, said: "The challenge helps teachers and pupils to combine what they have learnt in class with what they derive from the project exercises. I am happy that another team has entered this year because young people need this academically and experientially enriching participation."
The challenge, which is open to Gauteng pupils in Grades 8 to 10, encourages teams to investigate economic development, alternative and renewable energy generation and entrepreneurship challenges and to generate ideas for commercially viable products and, or services.
"For my team and I, last year was both an eye-opener and a richly rewarding occasion to win among equally impressive submissions and a good return for the challenging odd hours spent to fine-tune our entry during weekends, late afternoons and the school holidays," Ntshieng said.
l This unique corporate social investment and responsibility of Blue IQ - supported by the GDE and Sowetan - is one of the youth development activities of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.