FEBE Schools Competition Day provides learners with hands-on engineering experience 

by Mosima Rafapa

14 September 2023

More than 250 high school learners participated in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities during the Tshwane University of Technology's Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) Schools Competition Day, welcoming the arrival of Spring on 1 September. 

After a three-year hiatus caused by the global pandemic, the committed team members of FEBE introduced learners to exciting engineering disciplines like Polymer Technology and Industrial Design. They did this by developing specific STEM projects that align with the faculty's programmes.

The event's theme was innovation, and it was in line with FEBE's slogan, Keep pushing the boundaries. Feeder schools from the Limpopo province, as well as schools from Gauteng, North-West and Mpumalanga participated in exciting, challenging and creative projects.

Topping all schools was HTS Pretoria-Tuine, that excelled in challenges posed by the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design, Building Science, and Polymer Technology. In their various teams, they succeeded in displaying their creativity and craftsmanship as they folded intricate models for the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design building, quantity surveying, and designing a recycled plastic air cooler. 

Hoërskool Oos-Moot came first after highlighting their innovative, creative and electronic skills in the Edu-Toy Auto Cruise Car competition presented by the Department of Electrical Engineering. Additionally, they outperformed their competitors in the 'Map your Family Lineage' competition by the Department of Geomatics and were awarded the prize. 

Mjokwane Secondary School from Mpumalanga came in first for the Department of Chemical, Metallurgical, and Materials. They were assigned to develop a refractory lining brick for pyrometallurgical application and determine the specific heat capacity of refractory bricks made from recyclable material.

FEBE's Executive Dean, Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba, emphasised the importance of hosting events that focus on learners, as it encourages them to consider studying engineering. 

“This event is of great importance as it provides an excellent opportunity to interact with learners and introduce them to the world of science, engineering and technology. The main objective is to spark their interest in these fields and encourage them to pursue careers in them. The competitions held as part of this event are technical and engineering-based, designed to give students a taste of university-level education. The complexity has been reduced to their level, making it easier for them to comprehend and enjoy the event,” she said. 

Dr Kanakana-Katumba stressed the importance of encouraging learners to pursue STEM careers, as the country depends on scientists, engineers and technologists to solve societal problems. She spoke directly to the learners, saying: “It is easy to take everyday things for granted, such as having water for bathing and drinking when you wake up in the morning. The country is eagerly awaiting more solutions to such basic needs. As one of the leading faculties in engineering and the built environment, we not only encourage high school students to study engineering but also science and technology.”

Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning, Prof Caroline Khoathane, said: “It was quite fulfilling to witness the schools of the first-time participants winning the prizes with enthusiasm, inspiring them to achieve more. The impressive projects showcased by the learners demonstrated their incredible talent and creativity in solving societal challenges. The School Competition is an event that motivates learners to consider pursuing STEM degrees to address some of the nation's challenges and advance the economy.”

FEBE acknowledges the following sponsors: PC Palace, Dizzy Enterprise, RS Grassroots, Titant, Vodacom, Communica, Introstat, CAM and SAASTA.

During FEBE's Schools Competition Day, high school learners engaged in over 11 engineering projects to promote STEM careers.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711    Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za