The Boiketlong Sport Centre- in Sasolburg came alive with inquisitive minds as thousands of learners from across the country visited Sasol Techno X.
Now in its 12th year, Sasol Techno X is one of the largest career exhibitions in the country and provides dynamic and interactive ways for learners to discover the career opportunities in the fields of science, mathematics and technology.
Sasol Techno X is a platform for learners to engage with real-world applications of science, mathematics and technology.
"Every year, we see the impact of Sasol Techno X, as youngsters are exposed to potential careers they might not even have been aware of, before visiting us," said Dr Ivor Zwane, general manager corporate affairs for Sasol in Sasolburg.
"Innovation, technology, mathematics and science are essential building blocks in advancing a knowledge economy and by showcasing various opportunities within these fields, we are helping to provide important direction to South Africa's next generation of engineers, scientists and mathematicians," he said.
Sasol Techno X also offers learners the opportunity to engage with universities and various industries on the practicalities of moving through course studies and bursary options. "The engineering profession continues to contribute to building infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals, towns, dams and airports, among others. It is therefore imperative that South Africa increases the number of engineering and technical skills it produces each year," said Free State MEC for education Tate Makgoe.
"Currently South Africa is lagging behind in the number of competent engineers it produces, in comparison to other Brics nations and developing countries," Makgoe said.
In South Africa, there is one -engineer servicing 3 166 citizens, compared to Brazil's one engineer for every 227 citizens and Malaysia's one engineer for every 543 citizens. These statistics provide a benchmark needed to achieve the development that South Africa needs.
"However, this cannot be achieved without improving mathematics and science participation and pass rates at primary and high school levels. One of the goals of the government's mathematics and science strategy has been to ensure an increase in these subjects' participation rates, especially of black learners," said Makgoe.
"It is against this backdrop that the department of education supports Sasol's various initiatives aimed at the advancement of mathematics, science and technology in South Africa.
Free State MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Mamiki Qabathe said Sasol's sponsorship of Techno X is testament to its commitment to investing in the future of South African children through education and is a demonstration of how success-ful partnerships between government and the private sector lead to tangible results.
"Science and mathematics play vital roles in developing the -economy, interacting with the environment wisely and providing for public health and services. These subjects are also essential to making informed personal, social and political decisions. When taken together, science and mathematics can be used ethically to improve the human condition in a sustainable manner," she said.
While science provides descriptions, explanations and predictions about the natural world, mathematics provides the language of the most sophisticated and powerful uses of science. The application of these subjects has led to the most important developments in human history, from medicine to space travel.
The history and current use of the two subjects interact strongly to provide humans incredible intellectual tools of great practical value.
With more than 22 000 learners from seven provinces visiting Sasol Techno X last week, the exhibition continues to shape the career choices of learners. For the past 12 years, Sasol Techno X has increasingly become a strategic event for teachers and learners alike, to engage with subject content and experts on a practical level.
Sasol Techno X was launched by Sasol in 2000. It has since become a major event on the national academic calendar where learners are exposed to the multi-faceted world of science, mathematics and technology.
The exhibition is geared towards offering learners from grades 7 to 12 options that will assist them in their career choices. Grade 7s have to choose high schools they will attend, be it technical or academic.
For grade 9 learners, the exhibition- offers them a real-world view of science, maths and technology and the applications in industry, while grades 10 to 12 can engage with experts on the best subject choice for entry into university.