SOUTH Africa's Smart Young Mindz Challenge will choose its 2009 winners on Friday.

SOUTH Africa's Smart Young Mindz Challenge will choose its 2009 winners on Friday.

The event will take place in Midrand, Gauteng.

This maths, science, technology and engineering competition for high school pupils is aligned with the curriculum and is driven by senior officials and subject advisers from the Gauteng department of education's 16 districts.

Maths, science and technology teachers guide pupils in grades 8 to 10 to investigate alternative and renewable energy generation and entrepreneurship ideas for commercially viable products or services.

There is a total of R112500 up for grabs. Overall winners will receive R45000, with each pupil getting R7500 and their school getting R7500. For the second prize of R30000, each pupil will receive R5000 and their school will get R5000, and for the third prize of R15000, each pupil will receive R2500 and their school will get R2500.

In a major first, Smart Young Mindz will be a part of the department's Education Week 2009 Conference. It will take place from today until Friday at Vodaworld in Midrand. The conference will discuss the latest learning and teaching innovations and trends, curriculum development, and support methods and materials. It will also discuss effective school leadership and management techniques and issues affecting early childhood development.

Some of the highlights, besides the Smart Young Mindz Challenge's Expo and awards ceremony, are a basic and advanced coaching and mentoring session. This will be facilitated by John Paisley and Emma Tyrrell of the Coaching Centre. There is also a project leadership workshop, which Julian Day of Collaborative Projects will facilitate.

Excellence will also be recognised, acknowledged and rewarded through the Teacher Support Appreciation Awards and Argo Stars in Education Awards.

Several teacher workshops, which will focus on practical skills and solutions, will also take place.