Why REDFEST Science Centre?

Whereas it is acknowledged that formal educational institutions will accomplish the primary objective of producing science literate people, there is a need for the population at large to appreciate aspects of science in a leisurely and entertaining way. Of relatively recent origins, science centres are equipped with the resources to accomplish this task admirably. They popularise science by creating an environment where the audience can indulge in hands-on experimental learning.

The variety of exhibits covering various disciplines are basically incubators of scientific knowledge and emphasises hands-on experimental learning rather than a formal text-based approach. Through innovative science exhibits emphasizing on aspects of everyday life and other developments relevant to a nation, science centres are ideally composed to play an important role in nation-building efforts.

As a result; the implementation of REDFEST Science Centre is a response to a realization of an inadequate delivery of Mathematics; Science; Technology and Engineering (MSTE) education in rural schools of the Republic of South Africa. REDFEST offers experimental learning opportunities that cannot be provided by schools and also afford prospects for learners to learn while playing.

REDFEST Science Centre was established early 2014 in the form of an annual Rural Education Festival, due to popular demand and political influence it accumulated financial support and need for more science related activities from beneficiaries which led it to be a Science Centre. Up to this far REDFEST Science Centre hosted or has been involved in the following activities:

1. 2016 National Science Week

This is a project for the Department of Science and Technology coordinated through SAASTA. Our National Science Week took place primarily in two municipalities namely Greater Letaba local municipality and Molemole local municipality from 06 August to 13 August 2016. During this event a total of 27 stakeholders/exhibiting companies, 3 680 public members (physically) and 43 000 public members (through live radio broadcasting activities) were involved in the programme.

2. 2016 Finance Week

The Finance week was sponsored by First National Bank (FNB). The event took place at New Era College in Malamulele (Collins Chabane municipality) from 10 to 12 August 2016. The Finance Week was a showcase of the wide range of careers available in the financial services industry and it provided a platform for learners and educators to interact with the industry, higher education institutions and other training providers within the financial services industry.

In celebrating this event, key partners were invited to engage with Grade 8 to 12 learners in the exhibition venues. During this three days; 24 different institutions/companies and a total of 5 329 learners with 88 accompanying teachers from 13 different high schools were involved in the programme

3. 2016 Girl Learner Empowerment Programme

REDFEST Mobile Science Centre ran this project in collaboration with Cornet Mamabolo Foundation in order to close the learning gap between rural and urban Grade 12 female learners through interactive activities held in two days at two different venues.

The Mayor of Greater Letaba Municipality addressed a total of 2 410 Grade 12 female learners from 87 different High Schools on 21 April 2016 at former Sekgosese College of Education in Senwamokgope and on Friday 22 April 2016 at former Modjadji College of Education in Ga-Kgapane.Opportunities were afforded for girl learners to engage in discussions and debates with women in different disciplines about gender issues and the factors that impede or promote the successful integration of young women in the World of Work.

The girl learners were exposed to role models in the form of influential women scientists, technologists, engineers, academics and industry experts. A platform was created for girl learners and role models to engage in discussions about study and work opportunities in Science, Engineering, Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Geography, Media, Commerce, Social Sciences, Energy, Agriculture, Banking, Local Government, Labour, Public Services, Finance, Arts, Culture and Politics.

4. 2015 Physics Undergraduate Support Programme (University of Free State)

This project was implemented in collaboration with the Department of Science & Technology, VIP Print and Physics Department at the University of Free State, We afforded an opportunity to 94 undergraduate students to know-how the workings of specialists in research industries and production industries at first-hand also talking to physicists at work or using state-of-the-art equipment. The sites included Boyden Observatory, Letsatsi Solar Power Plant and Others

5. 2015 National Science Week

This is a project for the Department of Science and Technology coordinated through SAASTA. Our National Science Week took place in four municipalities namely Greater Giyani, Greater Letaba, Greater Tzaneen and Malamulele Central municipalities from 01 August to 07 August 2015. During this event a total of 21 exhibiting companies, 4 610 learners, 102 teachers and 8 620 public members were involved in the programme.

6. 2015 FNB Career Week

The First National Bank sponsored the Redfest mobile Science Centre to research, plan and implement career education exhibition for two days at Holy Rosary School in Malamulele. The event took place on Thursday 06th August and Friday 07th August 2015 parallel to National Science Week activities for those two days. We anticipated about 07 exhibiting/presenting companies, 1 440 learners to the two days event however the actual exhibition involved a total of 19 exhibiting companies/institutions, 1 876 learners and 53 educators. It is obvious that the event was very successful.

7. 2015 2nd Annual Rural Education Festival

The event was sponsored by Greater Letaba Municipality Mayor’s Office, Department of Environmental Affairs, MINTEK, Department of Education, Local Tribal Authorities and Local businesses. The 2nd annual Rural Education Festival took place at the former Sekgosese College of Education in Limpopo Province from 11 May to 15 May 2015.

In celebrating this annual event, 33 partner/exhibiting companies were involved in engaging learners, teachers and members of the public in the exhibition venue. During this week a total of 16 184 learners, 214 teachers and 228 public members were reached in the programme

8. 2014 Physics Undergraduate Support Programme (Wits University and University of Johannesburg)

This Project was sponsored by Department of Science & Technology; NECSA and MINTEK. Our network of business partners made it possible for a total of 60 University of Johannesburg and Wits University female students enrolled for physics to have opportunities to visit and interact with leading institutions such as NECSA, Ithemba Labs, Scaw Metals, National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NIMSA), South African Weather Services (SAWS), South African Breweries (SAB) and Johannesburg Planetarium. This opportunity gave them the chance to experience the workings of major research laboratories and production industries at first-hand also talking to physicists at work or using state-of-the-art equipment.

9. 2014 1rst Annual Rural Education Festival

The sponsors for this event included Department of Public Works, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, MINTEK and Local Businesses. This programme took place in May 2014 and involved 48 schools from Sekgosese East Circuit and 23 exhibiting companies.

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