CAPE TOWN - Africa's first private satellite was purchased by MEDO and Xinabox to help engage young high school students in Maths and Science.
MEDO (Meta Economic Development Organisation) a non-profit organisation and Xinabox, an electronics and technology development company both share the common goal of enriching the lives of young teenagers in SA, so that can persue careers in Maths and Science.
MEDO in partnership with Xinabox launched the programme called Young Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) focusing on developing the technical skills and mindsets of young women between grades 9-11 to encourage them to pursue STEM subjects and careers.
This particular programme was sponsored by Avery Dennison.
Bjarke Gotfredsen the founder Xinabox, with the students built dozens of handheld micro sensors with the goal of allowing high schoolers to send their own satellites into orbit.
The satellite will be used to give the students a platform for operating their own classroom ground control.
"We got a list of schools from the Western Cape Educational Department, and sent an online form to all the schools to fill in if they wanted their students to participate, out of the schools who applied, we surveyed the schools by visiting them and interviewed head masters and teachers", said Gotsfredsen.
""We chose 10 high schools in Cape Town. 10 schools of the 21 schools that have applied as we only had funding for 10 schools at that moment. After we did the first site meetings only 8 schools came back to us and the program where done at these 8 schools"
Students from these 8 high schools participated in the programme:
1. Delft Technical High School
2. Zisukhanyo Secondary School
3. Siphamandla Secondary
4. Modderdam High
5. Masibambane High School
6. Soneike High School
7. Claremont High School
8. Western Cape Sport School
Gotsfredson said that students do have a passion to learn more about Maths and Science but tend to get discouraged.
"Like with everything else, it has to be presented properly: First create small wins, then build from there, which is exactly our model. Unfortunately many students get discouraged by their parents, especially girls, which are being told that STEM is not for them. The discouragement for girls is also extended by many head-masters and science/math teachers", said Gotsfredson.
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