Pupils receive medals at Eskom Science Expo

Yusuf Atcha from the Leadership College, Mayamiko Kubalasa, Taahir van Schoor and the Leadership Colleges Science teacher, Zacharia Makhoba.

Pupils from the Leadership College’s campuses in Hyde Park and Manenberg have done exceptionally well in this year’s Eskom Regional Science Expo, held at the University of Cape Town recently.

More than 500 pupils from across the province took part in the competition.

The college scooped three medals – a bronze medal by Grade 7 pupil Portia Makhoba from the Hyde Park campus, and two gold medals by Grade 11 pupils Taahir van Schoor and Mayamiko Kubalasa from the Manenberg campus.

Portia’s project was “Improving the Learning of Mathematics in South Africa”, investigating what affects the learning of the subject.

She said many pupils find the subject difficult and often fail it because they do not understand maths.

“In my findings, I found that one of the contributing factors are teachers. In some schools there are teachers who have no passion and love for teaching, and in the end it affects the pupils.

“Also there are unqualified teachers too, and they don’t understand the problems of pupils. So they lose interest in pupils and they lose interest in the subject,” she said.

Taahir and Mayamiko’s project was “Bioplastics” and won four prizes at the competition. It included two gold medals, being chosen as the winners of a special project prize, the winners of a year’s subscription working and studying in an engineering company, and chosen as the Best Developed Project in the province.

Taahir and Mayamiko are among 20 pupils chosen to represent the Western Cape at the International Science Fair in Gauteng in October. The aim of the competition is to develop young scientists who are able to identify a problem, analyse information, find solutions and communicate findings effectively. It also increases pupils’ awareness of the wonders of science and broaden their scientific horizons.

Mayamiko said the competition was exciting and he enjoyed the challenge.

He said pupils had to identify an environmental problem in their community, which was plastic waste. Their solution was to create sustainable plastic.

“We used four items: banana peels, corn starch, gelatine and milk. We then made samples of different types of plastics, and eventually ones that were eco-friendly and works better than normal plastic,” he said.

He said the competition was informative and they were pleased when they received first prize for their work.

“We couldn’t believe that we won, because we were nervous and anxious throughout the process. We are very happy and are confident that we will do well in Gauteng. I would like to thank the school for their support and for pushing us to work hard and excel,” he said.

Zacharia Makhoba, science and mathematics teacher at the Leadership College, said the school wants to inculcate in pupils the love, appreciation and the interest of science and maths as subjects through participation in related competitions.

“Pupils gain significant skills through participation in the science expo. The expo brings the promotion of science and technology literacy; and encourages more youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics”, he said.