KZNScienCentre benefits from National Youth Service Programme

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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Attention
16 June 2012

KZNScienCentre benefits from National Youth Service Programme

Thanks to the Department of Science and Technology’s National Youth Service Programme (NYSP), the KZN ScienCentre at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping has been reaping the benefits of having tertiary-educated science graduates working as volunteers since 2009. The programme was initiated in order to afford science graduates the opportunity to work within science centres across the country, gaining experience in the workplace whilst at the same time contributing towards the public’s understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

At present, a total of nine graduates are facilitating operations at the KZN ScienCentre and, according to KZN ScienCentre Education Manager Nazley Kast, “this programme is an excellent initiative as it affords graduates the opportunity to gain work experience in an environment which deals with science and science communication on a daily basis. Their contributions have the potential to create positive changes in learner’s opinions of education, and also allow volunteers to make a real contribution and difference. The programme also fosters a culture of giving back, and allows graduates who are searching for their dream job the chance to inspire the next generation of scientists”.

National Youth Service Programme volunteers are involved with learners on a daily basis, demonstrating experiments, facilitating workshops and assisting visitors with the use and understanding of our the KZN ScienCentre’s over 150 science exhibits. Kast said “our education team and volunteers are the communicators of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and it is often their fresh take on tertiary studies and their open approach to learning that encourages learners to pursue STEM careers”.

Celiwe Chauca (KwaMashu), a University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) BSc Geological Science graduate (majoring in Environmental and Engineering Geology) said that “working at the KZN ScienCentre has improved my time management skills, communication skills, flexibility, networking, team work and project management. I love working in an environment that makes a difference in people`s lives, and the KZN ScienCentre. Volunteering for theNYSP at the KZN ScienCentre has been a great opportunity, as it has enabled me to get firsthand experience of how the real working world works, whilst at thesame time creating awareness amongst the youth of both science and engineering in fun and educational way”.

PC Training and Business College graduate Uwandisile Mfolozi (Mthatha), who has an Information Technology Diploma, said that “by volunteering for the NYSP at the KZN ScienCentre I hope to inspire and intrigue visitors, encouraging them to be curious and inquisitive critical thinkers. Making the public understand that the application of subjects such as maths and science don’t necessarily have to be limited to the classroom or workplace, but more applicable in practice in everyday life scenarios, is also one of my primary objectives”. Mfolozi believes that “my time at the KZN ScienCentre has helped me grow, both individually and professionally, dealing with new people all the time means that I learn something every day”.

Tongaat’s Analicia Govender, who graduated from UKZN with BSc Honours in Environmental Science, says she volunteered at the KZN ScienCentre in order to “extend my knowledge of environmental issues and share my passion for science amongst the impressionable youth. The ScienCentre encourages our youth to show an interest in science subjects, and this is especially important in South Africa, where there is a shortage of specialized scientists and engineers”. Speaking about the impact that the ScienCentre has on it visitors, Govender said that “the centre has the potential to become a leading institution of science and technology in the country, as it provides comprehensive programmes which are compliant with the Department of Education curriculum”.

On a daily basis, the KZN ScienCentre’s NYSP volunteers will conduct educational curriculum linked programmes to visiting schools, perform exhibit repair and maintenance, and develop and implement new science programmes, presentations and interactive workshops.

The KZN ScienCentre, a Non Profit Organization (NPO #064-359-NPO), is situated at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga and offers a great variety of educational and event facilities following an extensive revamp in October 2009. Through a variety of exhibits, workshops, themed holiday programmes, events, presentations and conferences, the KZN ScienCentre aims to promote science awareness amongst all citizens and in particular the youth, in order to encourage them to pursue science and technology related professions. As a registered non-profit organization, all funds received by the KZN ScienCentre directlysupport its educational programmes and exhibits.

The facilities at the KZN ScienCentre at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping include: its 40-seater domed planetarium, over 150 interactive science and technology exhibits, a 120-seat audio-visually equipped auditorium, a 60-seat conference room, a 60-seat laboratory, 12 well-trained Education Officers, 24-hour camera surveillance and supervision, to name but a few.

Those who wish to become part of the KZN ScienCentre’s online community are encouraged to ‘Like’ KZN ScienCentre on Facebook, follow @KZNScienCentre on Twitter, or visit the KZN ScienCentre at the Gateway Theatre Shopping website at www.sciencentre.co.za. As a registered non-profit organization, all funds received by the KZN ScienCentre directly support its educational programmes and exhibits. For further enquiries, the KZN ScienCentre front desk can be contacted on 031-5668040.

Ends

Issued on behalf of: KZN ScienCentre at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping

Press release compiled by:
Rob Evans

Disseminated by:
Olivia Jones Communications

For more information please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications
Cell 083 653 1720
Work 031 303 9341
Email media@oliviajones.co.za

 

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