Girls reach out for the stars

2019-02-14 06:01
Volunteers help take the girls through their pacesPHOTO: siyabonga kalipa

Volunteers help take the girls through their pacesPHOTO: siyabonga kalipa

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As the world was celebrating 100 years of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) on Tuesday 12 February, a school in Khayelitsha was launching its own astronomy academy.

Molo Mhlaba Primary School hosted astronomy day on Tuesday where young girls were taught the planets of the universe, including the movements of the earth and the moon around the sun.

The girls were also taught about the solar system of the galaxy and the universe as a whole. As part of its celebrations, the IAU celebrated women and girls in astronomy by dedicating February 12 as IAU 100 Women and Girls in Astronomy Day.

The IAU aims to increase the awareness of progress in astronomy, in particular the importance of the collaborative enterprise of astronomy and technological development for progress in the field.

It also promotes widespread access to astronomy related knowledge and observational experiences, supports and improves the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development and diplomacy.

Rethabile Sonibare, director of the school’s board, said: “We want young girls to be excited about astronomy at the same moment as we are teaching them about the planets, their names and functions,” she said.

She said they are thinking more long term by introducing astronomy to the school.

“We want to have young, black girls doing this and one day perhaps end up being astronomers themselves,” said Sonibare.

Sonibare said in order for the girls to be passionate about astronomy, they needed to start learning about the subject at an early age.

She added that they are introducing astronomy step-by-step for now so the girls can get used to the subject and because it is part of the curriculum.

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