Scientists urge pupils to ask questions

Luhlaza High School pupils listen to the speakers during a Science Week event at the school.

The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) is encouragingpeople to be curious about science and how it relates to the world around them.

On Thursday August 2, SAEON, in partnership with the Khulani library, hosted a National Science Week programme, at Luhlaza High School, in Khayelitsha, to promote science at local schools.

National Science Week is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology involving various stakeholders and role-players. A range of science-based activities are carried out during the week.

Pupils from different schools, scientists, parents and the public attended the event where, among others things, they discussed water, climate change and water regulations.

Thomas Mtontsi, educational officer for SAEON, said the idea was to encourage people to speak up on issues such as climate change and related topics including drought and water regulations.

He said they found that people were very accepting of the situation when the province was on the verge of Day Zero.

Mr Mtontsi said climate change and drought affected communities, and it was their duty to ask questions to the scientists.

“The reason we invited community members and local leaders is that we expect them to know and ask questions,” he said.

“I have a feeling that we are not on par with scientists and regulators who tell us these things. Why were there talks around water, Day Zero, water restrictions and the drought levy? What are these things?

“People do not ask questions, and yet they are affected by them. But it is good to hear the views of ordinary people,” he said.

Pupils were encouraged to study science related subjects.

Luhlaza High School principal Unathi Booi said she was proud that her school was chosen to host the event.

Ms Booi encouraged her pupils to study science as it held many opportunities for them. “Get informed on science issues. Science happens everywhere around us. I am elated that pupils are being exposed to the wealth of science. We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to host such an event. As science pupils you should be very active and form science clubs so you can apply what we are learning at school,” she said.

Science pupils at the school, Siyabonga Jondwana and Asemahle Tapuko, said they couldn’t have asked for a better day of learning science.

The pair said they had learnt new things.

“As pupils we need to be committed to science. It is such an interesting subject, but it needs one to cut down on many things like social media,” said Siyabonga.

Asemahle said: “Science is about practice and more practice. It needs commitment and sacrifice,” he said.