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SKA awards bursaries to five matriculants

SKA awards bursaries to five matriculants

Jan 17, 2016

By SouthAfrica.info

Five matriculants from the small rural town of Carnarvon who did particularly well in maths and science in their final National Senior Certificate exams at the end of 2015 are setting off for university in the coming days, armed with full bursaries from the Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA).

Carnarvon, in Northern Cape, is a remote town. It is the closest inhabited place to where the SKA SA radio telescope is being built. The global technology project, with operations in South Africa and Australia, is tasked with mapping the universe. It is an important addition to the town’s economy. Most of the construction is being done on-site and it is providing employment for the area’s citizens and a much- needed economic boost for the town.

The project has always strived to give back to the community for allowing the operation and its people to become part of the community, says Lorenzo Raynard, SKA SA communications manager. The bursary initiative, part of the SKA SA Human Capital Development Programme, was started in 2005 and already has helped more than 730 pupils to study in the science and engineering fields at tertiary institutions.

This year, five 2015 matriculants from the local Carnarvon High School have the opportunity to continue their studies in science-related fields thanks to bursaries offered through the programme.

The students – Anver Adams, Janethon de Klerk, Kyle Henderson, Cedwill Abdol and Bradley Bosman – all performed well in mathematics and physical science in their final exams, and want to study for Bachelor’s degrees in computer and data science, electrical engineering and physics at various universities around South Africa.

“Our goal is to ensure sustainability for the SKA and that site engineers be drawn from the local community,” SKA SA project director Dr Rob Adam said in a statement released on 8 January. “In turn (we want to) provide a way for local young people to achieve their dreams of greatness through science. (This is) the first time learners from the school with support from SKA SA, have obtained matric results with exemptions to further their studies in science related fields.”

Itumeleng Molefi, the physical science teacher at the school, could not be more proud of his students’ achievements. He said some of the learners came from severely challenging backgrounds. “It is only through their own perseverance and determination that they have succeeded.” The students, together with their teachers, as well as with some knowledge and assistance from SKA SA employees, made the effort and worked hard to pass their final exams in November and December 2015 and are now looking forward to starting their new learning journeys.

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