C hallenging future experts

GAUTENG principals, teachers and students are taking mathematics, technology, physical science and engineering learning and teaching seriously.

GAUTENG principals, teachers and students are taking mathematics, technology, physical science and engineering learning and teaching seriously.

Proof of this is in the 50percent increase in entries to the yearly Smart Young Mindz Challenge, South Africa's foremost public schools youth development project that seeks to nurture future practitioners and experts in mathematics, science and technology.

"Smart Young Mindz is proving to be more and more popular with a total of 255 entries received to date," said Blue IQ's Mandy Rutgers, who heads the project management affairs of the challenge.

"This is a 50percent increase from last year, a literal doubling of numbers year on year since 2007," she said.

Smart Young Mindz, which is open to Gauteng pupils in Grades 8, 9 and 10, encourages the students to step away from the norm and move to the unconventional, by investigating economic development alternative and renewable energy generation and entrepreneurship challenges and to generate ideas for commercially viable products or services.

Because it is aligned to the curriculum the challenge provides participating teachers and pupils with an integrated approach to using their knowledge and skills in the application of problem solving skills in mathematics, science and technology, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Winners are due to be announced in August and the top three prizes make up a whopping R112500.

l First prize is R45000. Each pupil receives R7500 and their school receives R7500.

l Second prize is R30000. Each pupil receives R5000 and their school also receives R5000.

l Third prize is R15000. Each pupil receives R2500 and their school also receives R2500.

The Smart Young Mindz Challenge nation-building partners have formed the SYM Alumni Club, made up of past winners.

The club encourages high school students to develop an increased interest in mathematics, physical science, engineering, technology, innovation and invention.

This unique corporate social investment and responsibility of Blue IQ - the Gauteng government's business development arm -- is supported by the Gauteng department of education and Sowetan, which has added the challenge to the youth development activities of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

l For more information on the Smart Young Mindz Challenge and other articles on the challenge, visit www.sym.co.za or www.sowetan.co.za.

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