The Young Engineers and Scientists of Africa (YESA) is an initiative aimed at increasing the pipeline Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI). YESA interventions operate from Grades 0-12 and are designed to supplement the national curriculum in a stimulating and challenging environment to promote creativity and innovation. All interventions are aimed at addressing the gaps in the developmental stages of providing support to learners through a broad range of activities.
"A CASE FOR DEVELOPING FUTURE LEADERS OF INNOVATION"
Conference Paper Presentation at
7th Innovation Summit
67 Minutes for Mandela Day
The Cofimvaba Rural Schools Fuel Cell Education Initiative was initiated on 17th June 2014. In just over 10 weeks, 20 schools were visited reaching over 2800 learners in Grades 4-12. What an awesome yet emotional experience of interacting with learners and teachers in these rural schools. Even within this school circuit there were extremes, from Cofimvaba SSS as a modern reasonably resourced high school to several schools where there was no electricity, tin shacks and mud walled huts for classrooms, long drops, broken windows and desks, no teachers in Mathematics and Science for some students for the whole year, etc. There was an instance of a principal reporting that we were the first white people that some learners had ever seen in the communities and yet Anglo American Platinum had the vision to sponsor YESA to take Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies to these schools to make a difference in their lives.
The bottom line is that despite no resources there were learners who displayed immense talent when challenged to apply their mind with topics relating to energy, transfer, solar and wind energy as well as Hydrogen Fuel Cells. We have to find ways of tagging such learners with the view to taking them further.
Just a quick report back relating to the Speak to Prof Ron Project on MXit. During the initial phases the user base was confined largely to the SADC region but in recent months there has been a surge from a number of different countries across Africa and even into America, Europe and Asia. The number of countries now exceeds 60 and is growing. More importantly a total of over 9000 questions have been responded to with an average of 22.8 in 398 days. I will be reporting back to the academic community via a series of Journal articles in the coming months.
The latest development includes a post graduate student in the IT faculty from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) working on the development of an automatic response system to initial questions. The intention is to allow the revised response system to interrogate the current database of questions and the serve up a few options. If the user is still not happy with the answers provided the system will then channel the questions to me directly. This will certainly improve the efficiency of the system by reducing the response time.