The Award Ceremony of Science Quest 2018, a project-based contest targeting secondary schools students to encourage them to use Science and Technology to solve problems for an enhanced livelihood � was held yesterday at the Paul Octave Wiehe Auditorium in Reduit.
Science Quest, in its fifth edition this year, is organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre to enable students devise strategies to deal with specific problems while working in a team. The objective is to ensure that participants develop research, communication and problem-solving skills as well as creativity by adopting an innovative approach.
In her address at the Award ceremony the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, pointed out that the Science Quest initiative forms an integral part of the education strategy of Mauritius to promote science and technology in schools. It is also important to realise that whatever we learn with regard to issues related to science and technology will not necessarily and exclusively apply in the field of natural science as the same principles is applicable to the social and human sciences, she said.
Speaking about the steps in scientific investigation, the Minister indicated that the phases range from project identification to information gathering, reflection to the reporting of observation and results which are then organised in a systematic manner. This approach, she noted, is pertinent to the human and social fields as well. The point therefore is that every student should be in a position to apply an inquisitive and critical mode of thinking leading to making a generalisation that should stand the test of time, she recalled.
The Minister congratulated the students for having demonstrated passion and interest for science and technology and submitted a wide variety of projects this year which testifies participants’ impressive collective spectrum of skills and creativity.
Science Quest 2018
The competition was launched in February 2018, inviting interested participants to submit a proposal for their research project. Participants could compete in teams of a maximum of four Students. Schools could submit a maximum of two projects per category as follows: Category 1: Grades 7, 8 and 9 (age between 12 and 14); Category 2: Grades 10 and 11 (age 15-16); and Category 3: Grades 12 and 13 (age 17-18).
Themes for the science projects ranged from recycling, energy, health, technology, to physics, environmental sciences and inventions.
RGSC received 133 entries from about 600 students from 70 secondary schools. A screening of the entries was carried out by a panel of judges and 89 best projects were retained. About 400 young scientists have gathered since Tuesday 29 May 2018 at the Auditorium to display and explain their science projects to the Jury and to the public.
The nominees for the finals of Science Quest were assessed on the following criteria: originality of work, scientific content of projects, project displays, and ability to explain the science of their projects.
Winning teams of each category have been awarded cash prizes offered by the Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd as follows:
Gold Prize: Rs 20 000
Silver Prize: Rs 15 000
Bronze Prize: Rs 10 000
Two Merit Prizes: Rs 4000
Educators of winning projects have been awarded a certificate and a cash prizes offered by RGSC.
Category 1: Grades 7, 8 and 9
Gold: Royal College, Curepipe
Silver: Sookdeo Bissoondoyal State College
Bronze: Gaetan Raynal State College
Category 2: Grades 10 and 11
Gold: Dr Maurice Cure
Silver: Mahatma Gandhi School, Moka
Bronze: Queen Elizabeth College
Category 3: Grades 12 and 13
Gold: St Esprit College
Silver: Hindu Girls College
Bronze: Terre Rouge SSS
A ‘Spectacular Science Show’ preceded the Science Quest 2018 Award ceremony with a performance by renowned science show professional, Dr Graham Walker, Senior Lecturer and Programme officer for Science Circus Africa, from the Australia National University, Australia. The Show comprised a set of science experiments and demonstrations conducted live in front of the audience with the aim of arousing curiosity and triggering interest for science.
Source: Government of Mauritius