National Youth Service to be launched at the University of Pretoria

Posted on June 26, 2008

The event will start at 10:00 in the Auditorium of the Sci-Enza Centre at the Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria. Sci-Enza is the oldest interactive Science Centre in South Africa. “With its highly experienced and dedicated staff, this Centre makes an ideal location for the launch of this exciting initiative,” says Prof Pat Eriksson, Chair of the School of Physical Sciences at the University.

The NYS Programme is a governmental initiative aimed at engaging youth to render their services in the various communities. The NYS volunteers are placed at science centres throughout South Africa and they assist with engaging Youth into Science Strategy. Whilst carrying out their tasks, they simultaneously get relevant skills and training. Some of the unemployed science graduates are currently placed at the Sci-Enza Centre.

The NYS Volunteer Programme is managed through the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) nationally to encourage the participation of Youth in Science Strategy. The engagement of Youth into Science strategy was taken up by Cabinet in March 2007 as a means of spurring on participation of Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career paths. “This represents the only practical means of addressing the grave shortages of suitably qualified young people to serve the needs of South Africa,” says Prof Eriksson.

FESTOC is an umbrella body aimed at coaching and mentoring disadvantaged learners to participate in all engineering, science and technology Olympiads and competitions.

High profile delegates along with several volunteers, who have been deployed to 22 science centres across the country for a period of 24 months, are amongst the guests expected to attend the launch.

“We are very excited and honoured that the launch is going to take place at Sci-Enza. We look forward to sharing this opportunity with other volunteers and delegates,” says Irene van Nugteren, NYS volunteer at Sci-Enza.

Van Nugteren describes the programme as enlightening and useful in the transference of skills to young graduates. “This programme presents a wonderful opportunity for young graduates and benefits the communities around us. It is empowering and I, like the other volunteers here at Sci-Enza are grateful for it”, she continues.

Vice Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Crewe will personally welcome the guests to the University.

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