Young scientist Caroline Boshoff from Cape Recife High School in Port Elizabeth has won the first prize at the 2019 Kenya Science and Engineering Fair with her project Sakha Isizwe Ngemfundo (Build the nation through early education).
Boshoff, who is Dyslexic and struggles to read and write, investigated the differences between privileged and underprivileged children during early development.
Her research proved that children from an economical underprivileged environment and children with disabilities had gaps in the development of their visual perception skills and could benefit from intervention, in particular, a visual perception educational programme.
“I never expected to win. The projects were all so good and the standard was very high. I was very surprised and happy when my name was called out. To get a first position in the Behavioural Science Category was quite a surprise, but when I heard that I also received a gold medal, I thought that I was dreaming,” says Boshoff”.
“The trip to Kenya was an experience of a lifetime. I enjoyed every second of it. Other than participating in the science fair, we were able to view the Menengai Crater also visited the equator, which was very special because we learned about it in geography class,” she adds.
Boshoff plans to continue her Eskom Expo journey this year by finalising her teacher workbook with ideas for educational tools from recyclable material.
“Next year when I am in Grade 12, I plan a grand finale with a pre- and post-test from children of underprivileged communities after implementing all the resources that I designed,” she says.
Boshoff was joined in Kenya by fellow South African young scientists Siphesihle Sithole from Mehlokazulu High School in Pietermaritzburg; Ntendeni Nephawe from Mbilwi Secondary School in Vhembe and Norman Mashiri from Dr Joseph Shabalala Secondary School in Ladysmith.
Sithole’s project involves a water treatment system that uses solar energy and biomethane generated from the digestion of waste in the treatment of water for household use. It offers an innovative and affordable approach to solving a water crisis and environmental pollution.
Nephawe developed a solar powered umbrella charging port and cooling fan with increased rate of electricity demand and consumption. The device is able to charge about four mobile devices in an hour.
Mashiri who designed and programmed a mobile application that would simplify the task of writing a CV and other documents. It takes the mobile application 3 minutes to successfully build a CV, depending on the user’s response and the processing speed of the device. No computer skills are required whatsoever.
Parthy Chetty, Eskom Expo Executive Director says: “Eskom Expo is thrilled to be able to provide learners with a platform to pursue their passion in the sciences. The success of this national initiative is evident in Caroline winning top award in Kenya. Since the beginning of the year, South Africa has participated in 3 international science fairs and have always come away with awards. Our learners have great potential and we need to allow them to showcase their talent not only in South Africa, but on the international stage, to prove that Eskom Expo has achieved world class standards in science and engineering.”