Laptops, bursaries for Mehlokazulu pupils

2016-12-07 06:01
PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile At the prize giving (from left) Nathi Zwane, Sthabile Mnyandu, Nolwazi Sithole, Nonduduzo Mbele, Nondumiso Mkhize and Thoko Njoko (life science teacher).

PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile At the prize giving (from left) Nathi Zwane, Sthabile Mnyandu, Nolwazi Sithole, Nonduduzo Mbele, Nondumiso Mkhize and Thoko Njoko (life science teacher).

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THREE Grade 11 pupils from Mehlokazulu High School, who came third in the SA Youth Water­ Prize competition, were given their prizes on Tuesday.

The trio, Nolwazi Sithole, Nonduduzo Mbele and Nondumiso Mkhize invented a bio-sand filter system project that cleans and purifies water using waste energy.

The project saw them winning at provincial level and competing at national level in May.

They each received a laptop, R5 000 and bursaries to further their studies in fields related to environmental studies, microbiology, engineering, chemistry, and more.

At the prize giving Nathi Zwane from the Department of Water and Sanitation said the competition was aimed at coming up with solutions to eradicate the current drought problem.

“We are very proud of Mehlokazulu, it was the only school from the province to go through to the national round of the competition. This project will help the department in addressing serious water issues and we want to implement it at full scale with the help of the pupils and continued research.”

Zwane said bursaries that have been offered to the pupils are other means in which the department is trying to challenge a shortage of skills.

“We have serious skills shortages in various fields within the department. This year we have had to import skilled water services managers from other provinces and countries.

“We want to encourage these pupils to pursue careers in engineering and science so that when they complete their degrees they can be easily employable.”

He said the bursaries are inclusive of a monthly stipend each pupil will receive once they get to a tertiary institution of their choice.

Life science teacher Thoko Njoko, who mentored the pupils in putting the project together, said she was proud they did not let contextual factors like the lack of infrastructure at the school impact their performance.

“The school does not have a laboratory and we had to ask stakeholders like Umgeni Water to do water quality tests. Hulamin also came on board by donating stands. I have always encouraged my pupils to be difference makers and go the extra mile, regardless of their disadvantaged backgrounds. They competed against Model C schools and did exceptionally well.”

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