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Pandor urges more women into science

2012-08-31 15:47

Johannesburg - South Africa needed more women scientists to help reduce poverty and solve health problems, Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor said on Friday.

"As in many other parts of the developing and developed world, women's scientific skills and abilities are still very much under-utilised in our country," she said at a business breakfast in Johannesburg hosted by The New Age.

"We have to do more to increase women's access to scientific knowledge, especially if we are to tackle the development challenges that face the most vulnerable in society."

She was concerned that women scientists received "far fewer" research grants from the National Research Foundation than men.

Her department wanted to help build a knowledge-based economy, to help create sustained economic growth.

Next generation

Pandor said astronomy had the potential to encourage young people to become scientists.

"In our experience, astronomy is proving to be an unrivalled instrument for science education in terms of the excitement it generates among our youth. Astronomy not only benefits human capital development. The development of research infrastructures is also significantly boosted."

She said she was working with the department of basic education to ensure that schools in rural areas had laboratories. Treasury had provided significant funding for this.

Pandor said the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) was an important project, but skills needed to be produced in many other fields in science.

She urged researchers to remain in their field. There was a need to train the next generation of academics as the current one was getting old.

"They [academics] are ageing, they are male and they tend to be white. I am not being racist... So we need to ensure that we have more women, more young black people that are being prepared to take up positions of teaching and research in our universities."

Pandor said her department had started several initiatives to ensure science and technology contributed to job creation in the country.

One example was a R1.6bn project to establish the first pharmaceutical plant to make ingredients for antiretroviral medicines in South Africa.

Comments
  • alan.jerrold - 2012-08-31 16:41

    Ms Pandor, how about ensuring that educational standards are improved in SA? Like not allowing SADTU to call the shots, with teachers staying away at will? Or not making an 'assisted' 30% a 'pass mark'? How on earth do you ever expect to create future female or male scientsts, when the groundwork laid by the ANC is so rotten?

  • KennySven - 2012-08-31 18:58

    The South African education system is now not accepted overseas,even our most experienced doctors/dentists emigrating to the USA or other first world countries are not accepted,they must first rewrite and pass further exams to practice. If our education system was the same as say the UK most of the population would still married with three kids at school trying to obtain grade 12/matric Scientists? obviously a joke,schools,teachers and universities first don't you think? Where is the free education the ANC promised to all in 1994 if they came into power or was this only promised to obtain votes? You don't need matric to answer this one. To dig a hole used to take 20 men one week and a Union,now the same hole is dug in one day with a digger loader,no Union and less expensive = 19 men have no job and why unemployment is currently running at 40% plus. How do we find employment for +-30 million South Africans with none or very little education? The government is allowing cheap Chinese imports to flood our country = no local jobs,(clothing etc,)= no food. Viva ANC Viva,Viva no brains ANC Viva,Viva no food Viva.

  • les.eberhardt - 2012-08-31 23:13

    Our "new"education system first needs one massive upgrade. One of our ex health ministers found a cure for AIDS, without a university degree;yes,beetroot and cabbage. That says it all for our ANC education system. One thing that nobody can teach someone is COMMON SENSE!!And that's what's lacking in our rulers.

  • Neal Sing - 2012-09-01 22:13

    with our south african education system it will not help.Studying even Home Economics will not help

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