The cameo appearance of science and technology minister Naledi Pandor on a popular daily soapie was a means of targeting parents to encourage their children to take up science-related subjects.
Pandor appeared on SABC 3’s Isidingo‚ informing South Africans about National Science Week. Pandor told TimesLIVE that media‚ in general‚ was one of the tools they used to communicate science messages to the people‚ as well as getting people to regard science as fun and normal.
“Based on our past experiences‚ we thought popular television programmes could be effective vehicles to achieve this intention. The Human Sciences Research Council reported in one of its social attitudes surveys that television and radio are the biggest sources of science information in South Africa. Of these‚ television came out on top.
“Popular programmes on television have a huge following‚ particularly of diverse age ranges‚ including parents‚ who are part of the audience we are targeting in our messaging about science. Parents help us to encourage their children to take science-related subjects seriously‚” said Pandor.
Pandor said she enjoyed the experience of being on the set of Isidingo.
“I enjoyed the experience as it was a first for me and the team were wonderful. Most importantly‚ I enjoyed it because of the knowledge that through that platform‚ we were able to reach millions of people and inform them about the National Science Week‚” said Pandor.
On Saturday‚ Pandor launched the 2017 National Science Week at the Nelson Mandela University in the Eastern Cape‚ where she urged pupils to change South Africa’s future by pursuing mathematics and science.
“Through you studying science‚ engineering and technology at places like Nelson Mandela University‚ we can develop a greener economy for South Africa‚ greener economy for Africa and greener economy for the world‚” said Pandor.
National Science Week is a countrywide celebration of science involving various stakeholders conducting science-based activities during the week at various centres around the country.
She said South Africa was working towards the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in step with many other countries.
“The National Sustainable Development Strategy‚ which was adopted in November 2011‚ calls for a green economy that is resource-efficient‚ low-carbon and pro-employment. The promotion and growth of green technologies is very important as they have the potential to create jobs and grow the economy‚ improve rural livelihoods‚ conserve natural resources and reduce pollution‚” she said.
National Science Week runs until Saturday under the theme “Advancing Science Tourism”.
Pandor said science tourism begins at school.
“The formal learning of science in the classroom is a structured scientific learning tour aimed at creating a learning society. In the South African school system context‚ the tour is structured on the basis of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). This scientific learning tour progresses beyond the school system into the higher education system.
“Science education research shows that learners’ interest in science is boosted by excursions to scientific sites like botanical gardens‚ zoos‚ museums and science centres. Visits to such places provide learners with alternatives and practical explanations of some curriculum concepts‚ improving learners’ understanding‚” said Pandor.
She also launched “Because science is fun: Stories of emerging female scientists”‚ a booklet that contains stories of 25 women scientists who went through their different journeys to become scientists.
Source: TMG Digital.