The 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge conducted its first schools programme (activation) in Sasolburg which was attended by more than 800 learners from various schools in the town. Sasolburg is home to Sasol, the title sponsor of the Sasol Solar Challenge.

The school learners gathered at the D P De Villiers Stadium on day one of the Sasol Solar Challenge to learn about different concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and energy.

“It was great to see so many young people coming to the venue to participate in the programme. The schools programme aims to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists by giving them knowledge and hands-on experience in the exciting fields of STEM,” said Chanté van den Berg, coordinator of the schools programme. “There was also great support from the teachers who took part in the programme to also transform their skills and knowledge of STEM in order to impart these to their learners.”

The schools programme ran alongside the event and was conducted in partnership with Microbotics. Microbotics offer robotics, programming and electronic modules for scholars.

Learners took turns in three stations at the venue to learn about solar technology, e-mobility and robotics in real-life. Each station had toolkits which the learners used as practical examples of robotics and solar energy. Some of the toolkits were provided by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Floris Niehaus, CEO at Microbotics said: “Microbotics aims to simplify STEM education and make it interesting to young people. Our vision is to educate and train young people and teachers in programming, electronic and robotic skills by getting them to play with technology. We are grateful to the Sasol Solar Challenge for this opportunity to engage with the school learners and through our toolkits, show them how different STEM and energy concepts work.”

Sasolburg was the first control-stop for day one of the event. As solar cars were coming into the venue, the community of Sasolburg rushed to the stadium to view the cars and support the teams.

Among other schools that attended the schools programme was Lehutso Primary School.

The school principal said he was pleased to see the learners participate in initiatives that inspire them to pursue STEM education.

“We are grateful to the Sasol Solar Challenge for organising the schools programme. Our learners have started working on energy solutions to address challenges that are faced by the community and the school itself. Their participation in this programme motivated and inspired them to develop even bigger energy and STEM solutions, and we hope to build a solar car, which can compete in the Sasol Solar Challenge,” said Mpho Mofokeng, a school principal at Lehutso Primary School.

Nozipho Mbatha, Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorships at Sasol said: “The schools programme gave learners the opportunity to explore STEM and energy-related concepts, in order to develop a passion, and hopefully pursue jobs in these fields.”

Followers of the Sasol Solar Challenge can look forward to the announcement of new dates for the 2024 event, which will be revealed in the next coming weeks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022