|The Moses Kotane Institute (MKI) launched “I am an Engineer Competition”||2016-10-17|
In an effort to increase access and success to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through advancing the country’s future scientists and Engineers; the Moses Kotane Institute (MKI) held a media briefing on 13 October 2016, at Elangeni hotel, Durban where distinguished members of the media, government and private sector were invited with aim to unveil plans that are afoot regarding the STEMFest Conference and” I am an Engineer” competition.
The province of KwaZulu-Natal has been announced as the stage for the hosting of the 5th International STEM Festival. The festival creates an intersection between the critically important STEM fields and economic development. We will have STEM scholars from over 55 countries converging upon the province under the auspices of discussing new developments in the field. MKI has taken advantage of historical event by launching a competition called “I am an Engineer Competition as a build up to the conference, winners from the competition will participate in the conference and be exposed to science exhibitions and Lego Robotics.
Mr Scott Campbell a representative of STEMFest who delivered a speech at the event shared his excitement about the conference coming to Africa for the first time and how fascination about the degree at which the KwaZulu-Natal Province takes STEM initiatives. He then made a formal declaration that South Africa, Durban won the rights to host the STEMFest that is organised by the international alliance which will be hosted by November 2017. He also took the opportunity to emphasise that in order for SA to increase the number of STEM graduates, government should ensure that youth are learning from different levels that are aligned to critical jobs that are created.
A message of support was delivered by Mr Nkosinathi Solomon who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Spring Lights Gas. He comes from a background that one could conclude hopeless, however he managed to conquer his challenges and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering in 1995. “Our current generation they really don’t know how privileged they are for being exposed to such opportunities, it has now become a tendency for them to take things for granted. When we grew up it was really difficult to succeed as we were not prepared enough for careers that involves engineering,” he said.
He also assured everyone that SL Gas will continue supporting programmes like these in order to reach as many youths as possible.
The I am engineer competition is aimed at igniting interest in learners particularly those who hail from disadvantaged backgrounds so they can they can develop interest to become engineers.
Mr Sakhile Ngcobo, the MKI Board Chairperson was the key note speaker “In a report issued by Ecsa last year, it said SA had one engineer per 2600 people. This has been compared with the international standards where one great engineer serves 40 people. We therefore cannot leave this responsibility to teachers and learners alone, we as government we need to come up with programmes that will address these issues,” he said.
The MKI CEO, Mr Sibusiso Mpungose concluded the media briefing by thanking the chairperson of board for the support that he has provided thus far, on behalf of MKI he also expressed sincere gratitude to all key partners for collaborating with MKI. “In order to be effective, it requires us to collaborate with other establishments,” he concluded.