Science centres key to learning - Pandor

2011-09-05 20:28
Cape Town - Science centres have a major role to play in encouraging young people to follow careers in science and technology, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said on Monday.

Speaking at the opening of the 6th Science Centre World Congress in Cape Town, she said 26 science centres had been established in South Africa.

"We believe that science centres have a critically important role to play in the development of our human capital, and in strengthening our science and technology culture, not only in South Africa, but in Africa as a whole."

The theme for the five-day congress is "Science Across Cultures".

Pandor said South Africa faced challenges when it came to teaching science and mathematics, the latter being an essential entry requirement for any science programme.

"In South Africa we face a number of challenges in respect of the learning and teaching of mathematics and science. Our performance in international tests like TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) has been poor in the past.

"While last year's final grade 12 results show an overall improvement in mathematics performance, there was little overall improvement in physical science.

"Our public school infrastructure in terms of libraries and laboratories requires considerable attention."

Policies were now in place to establish science centres throughout the country.

"We have already achieved some success in that 26 science centres have been established in eight provinces, and more are planned," Pandor said.

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