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Gauteng science and technology hubs

There are a number of areas and places in Gauteng which are used as referral points among other subjects as the evolution of man, environmental education and astronomy among other disciplines. Here are a few:

Sterkfontein Caves

The Sterkfontein Caves are a World Heritage Site which form part of South Africa's Cradle of Humankind, a source of knowledge about the evolution of humankind. It was here that Dr Robert Broom found the almost perfect cranium of an adult, the specimen of Australopithecus africanus that became known as Mrs Ples. Tuesday to Saturday the tours begin at 8: 30am and the last tour takes place at 4pm, while on Sunday they start at 9am and the last tour begins at 4pm.

Maropeng Visitor's Centre

The Maropeng Visitor's Centre, also in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, offers a high-tech interactive exhibit to entertain and educate visitors about evolution and the rich fossil heritage of the area. The centre is open daily from 9am – 5pm.

Both the Sterkfontein Caves and the visitor’s centre are located in Krugersdorp in Gauteng.

Delta Environmental Centre

The Delta Environmental Centre is an environmental education, training and consultation centre situated in Victory Park, Gauteng. The centre aims to enable people to improve their environment by promoting the management and sustainable use of all resources.

Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory

The Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory is located west of Johannesburg. It operates as a National Research Facility under the auspices of the National Research Foundation. It is all about astronomy but also demonstrates connections to basic science and technology, and explains astronomical concepts that appear in the school syllabus.

Johannesburg Planetarium

The Johannesburg Planetarium is a popular school outing that introduces scholars to the subject of astronomy. It is housed on the grounds of Wits University. The planetarium is technically owned by the university but it was set up as a joint project between the City of Johannesburg and the university. A managerial committee set up by the City and the university runs the project. There are shows every day of the week, except Sundays. It was built in 1960 and hosts about 70 000 people a year.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is the largest science centre in Southern Africa. Located in Newtown, in the heart of Johannesburg’s cultural precinct, Sci-Bono is an initiative of the GDE and other private stakeholders. It aims to improve the educating of maths, science and technology and to foster public engagement with these disciplines, while also promoting careers in them.

Sci-Bono provides an accessible teaching and learning environment with hands-on exhibits, science stage shows and innovative workshops that demonstrate a variety of scientific and mathematical concepts. It is open on weekdays from 9am to 5am and on weekends from 9am to 4.30pm.

There are also holiday programmes for Grade 12 learners to help them with their syllabus.

The BHP Billiton Career Centre at Sci-Bono also offers career guidance, aptitude testing, career planning, workshops and skills development.

Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub in Pretoria is a Science Park and a regional centre of innovation and knowledge creation. It is a member of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP). A Science Park, also known as a Technology Park, is a venue for different business professionals who promote the culture of innovation and knowledge-based institutions. The Science Park creates a unique space for entrepreneurs, academics and scientists alike to be as innovative and creative as they can in advancing in knowledge-based businesses. The hub is designed to inspire creativity and innovation, while offering services and facilities integral to today's knowledge-intensive, technology-led businesses.

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is one of South Africa’s leading science and technology research, development and implementation centres. Located in Pretoria, the council was initiated in 1945 by parliament to improve the lives of the people of South Africa using science and technology to benefit the private and public sectors for commercial and social benefit. The CSIR’s research and development areas include: biosciences; built environment; information and communication; materials science and manufacturing; natural resources and the environment; mineral resources; space technology; nanotechnology and synthetic biology.

BioPad

Biotechnology Partnerships and Development (BioPad) is Gauteng’s Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centre located in Pretoria. BioPad was established by the Department of Science and Technology and a group of interested biotechnology stakeholders in 2002. Its core objective was to implement the National Biotechnology Strategy of South Africa. Its project areas include: animal health and production; industrial; mining; environmental biotechnology; Human Health and Bio-processing. BioPad works as an intermediary between researchers, entrepreneurs, business, government and other stakeholders in its bid to create sustainable biotechnology businesses in support of South Africa's needs.

Dinaledi Schools Project

Dinaledi Schools Project is aimed at increasing access to maths and science at higher-grade level in underprivileged schools. The goal was to contribute to the skills deficits that have been reported in the sectors of the economy that require competence in mathematical and scientific skills. The initiative was launched in 2006. There has also been a request to the private sector to adopt a Dinaledi school so that it can meet its requirements by funding it so it can acquire textbooks and other resources.

Smart Young Minds Challenge

The Smart Young Minds Challenge is a yearly competition for mathematics, science, technology and entrepreneurship for high school pupils in grades eight to 10 and is a partnership between the GDE and Blue IQ. It was initiated in 2010 and is aligned to the school curriculum.

The aim of the partnership is to encourage grade eight to 10 learners to participate in engineering, mathematics, science and technology programmes while at school and prepare these learners for careers in these fields.

Learners are given a challenge linked with Gauteng’s economic development and have to research a topic and come up with a project portfolio and ultimately a prototype of the model they wish to present.

Computer clubhouses

Most municipalities in Gauteng have their own initiatives on how to encourage maths, science and technology to scholars. The City of Johannesburg municipality has a number of computer clubhouses around the city to encourage scholars to explore the world of computers after school.

These are the Bellavista Technohub Computer Clubhouse; Orange Farm Technohub Computer Clubhouse, Jabavu Technohub Computer Clubhouse and Randburg Technohub Computer Clubhouse; and are members of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. They are after-school computer learning centres designed for young people up to the age of 18. They provide free access to computers and learners can work on projects based on their interests and ideas, but the main focus is animation, graphics and three-dimensional designing.

Gauteng makes it possible through these small and large scale initiatives for the advancement of science and technology to take place. The province tackles the advancement of these subjects from schools and then makes sure that when the children are out of school they can still engage with the disciplines at their leisure by going to museums and historical sites of value to them. Adults are also able to explore science and technology through such initiatives.

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