Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

05 August 2022

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) exposed learners from township and rural schools to various opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at its annual Career Day, in Pretoria on Wednesday, 03 August 2022.

The event, was attended by hundreds of learners and educators, forming part of the National Science Week (NSW), an initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation that aims to increase the level of public understanding of science countrywide.

This year, NSW is celebrated under the theme “Celebrating the role of basic sciences in the modern world”.

The CSIR Career Day seeks to spark STEM ambitions in grade 9 to 11 learners from disadvantaged schools who are taking mathematics and science as subjects.

CSIR Principal Researchers, Ghaneshree Moonsamy, said CSIR researchers used the platform on the day to showcase various technologies and science-based activities, such as science experiments, exhibitions, presentations, and motivational talks, designed to encourage the learners to pursue careers in STEM.

“The reason we are here today is to share our insights and our personal journeys in our careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and innovation, as well as creating exposure to school learners and the general public in inspiring people to pursue careers in science and technology.

We realised as the CSIR the importance of exposure and giving learners, especially those from disadvantaged areas that have not been in the science space that do not have laboratories and cannot do their own experiments,” said Moonsamy.  

Moonsamy further elaborated on how engaging with the students will hopefully inspire the next generation of scientists to succeed in their careers in science.

“We want to share our personal stories and how we’ve made our careers in science a success, so hopefully it will inspire the next generation of scientists to be able to not only further their studies, find jobs but use these jobs as opportunities to make a difference in the country,” she said.

“The challenge with students is they start taking subjects such as Maths and Science serious when they choose subjects in Grade 10, but it is based on a strong fundamental platform,” explained Dr Advaita Singh, Researcher at CSIR.

“I am here to inspire the kids of my academic journey to where I am right now, I made the 2022 mail & guardian top young South African list, using my journey to inspire kids and make an impact for South African Scientists of tomorrow,” Dr Singh said.

Learners also had the opportunity to engage with the researchers and scientists on various career opportunities, explored science and technology-focused exhibitions and saw demonstrations of various projects from different clusters in the organisation.