SOUTH Africa's largest youth development campaign through maths, science, technology, engineering and entrepreneurship is kicking off for 2010. It starts in Johannesburg this week.
Known as the Smart Young Mindz Challenge, the campaign encourages Gauteng pupils in grades 8 to 10 to take part in challenges aimed at raising their interest in technical subjects.
This is a corporate social investment and responsibility project of Gauteng's economic development vehicle - Blue IQ. It is run under the auspices of the Gauteng economic development department and is supported by the Gauteng department of education, Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.
District officials, especially subject advisers, play a critical role in ensuring that schools know about and participate in the competition.
More than 7000 pupils were reached last year with information about the importance of technical subjects or learning areas.
A massive road show is due to follow the 2010 Smart Young Mindz Challenge launch in Johannesburg tomorrow. Pupils will be encouraged to investigate problems, wants and needs in their communities and to generate ideas for commercially viable products or services.
Louise McAuliffe reports that, in line with the competition's objective, the overall winners in 2009 were Kathleen Butler, Amy Lochner, Estelle du Plooy, Pamela Cloete and Danica van der Waag of The Way Christian School. They designed an alternate renewable energy source.
Van der Walt said: "When our electro-magnetic generator is placed under the surface of a busy highway, electricity will be produced as vehicles travel over the device.
"This invention is eco-friendly as we are not using any of our natural resources and contributing to the destruction of our planet."
Cloete said: "Our invention is an extra great one since it will reduce the load on already over burdened Eskom."
The second-placed pupils from Willowmoore High School were Chloe Melissa Fynn, Reshen Pillay, Kaviesh Gopal, Safeega Mohamed and Zainab Karolia who designed an electro-plate for areas of high pedestrian movement.
Describing the device Pillay said: "As you step on the plate it applies pressure downwards, forcing a magnet through a copper coil. Electricity will be generated and stored in a converter for future use."
Flynn said: "The best news is that we are using ourselves as a resource to generate our own electricity. The electro-plate is also environmentally friendly and safe to use. It does not emit green house gasses and so decreases global warming."
Third-placed from Roshnee Secondary School were Mohamed Areff, Muhammad Monga, Suhail Ismail, Himal Gangaram and Zaheer Adam, who designed a solar-powered device that generates power for street lights. This eliminates the use of copper wire and emissions from burning coal.
Gangaram said: "The pole on which the solar panel is erected has pressure points, that will collapse if a vehicle collides with it.
Injuries to passengers will decrease since the pole collapses around the vehicle."
l To enter, visit www.sym.co.za; www.blueiq.co.za; www.gautengonline.gov.za or call Blue IQ on 011-689-1600.
For news articles on the challenge visit www.sowetan.co.za