More than 7 000 children to take part in Play Africa’s ’I am a Scientist’ programme

Two girls next to an I am a scientist banner.

More than 7,500 children are taking part in Play Africa’s “I am a Scientist” educational programme. Photo supplied.

Published May 11, 2021


More than 7 500 children are taking part in Play Africa’s “I am a Scientist” educational programme, which features a 340 m2 science exhibition.

The educational programme, initiated by American multinational conglomerate corporation 3M, in partnership with the non-profit Play Africa organisation, is expected to launch in Soweto later this month.

The 3M company aims to advance economic equity by creating five million unique science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and Skilled Trades learning experiences for under-represented individuals in the field by the end of 2025. Play Africa’s purpose is to promote and ensure that STEM reaches out to under-represented communities

The “I am a Scientist” educational enrichment programme bridges opportunity gaps and promotes equitable outcomes in STEM subjects and disciplines.

The initiative includes an online programme that introduces children to diverse STEM role models in live, interactive sessions.

Play Africa chief executive Gretchen Wilson-Prangley said: “We’re helping create a new generation of African leaders in science and skilled trades by ensuring students and teachers at previously disadvantaged primary schools have the tools and resources they need to succeed in STEM.”

Wilson-Prangley said the organisation’s goal was to unlock pathways to new careers, broadening participation in STEM and showing every African child that she or he could become a scientist.

"Promoting equity in science and STEM in South Africa means changing mindsets, fighting racial and gender biases, and challenging historical stereotypes that limit children's professional goals. Science engagement and outreach programmes - like Play Africa's 'I'm a Scientist' programme - will unlock new possibilities for children traditionally excluded from, and under-represented in, STEM fields,” said Wilson-Prangley.

3M Vice President of Community Relations Michael Stroik said: “As a global science, technology and manufacturing company that operates across an incredible number of industries, 3M has the unique capability and opportunity to introduce all people to STEM and trades skills careers.

“That introduction can start with an experience that gives someone a peek of what could be, or fully opens their mind to a path of opportunities they may or may not have ever thought about. We want to be the catalyst to that spark, five million times over.”

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