Science Olympiads (Natural, Life, and Physical Sciences) were initiated under the auspices of SAASTE-KZN (South African Association of Science and Technology Educators) in 1997 by a group of Science Lecturers at the then Springfield College of Education (in Durban). These Olympiads in the Sciences were
initiated to improve the Teaching and Learning of the Sciences at Primary and Secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal. From the year 2000, these Olympiads were offered to learners throughout the country, in 10 grades and three learning areas.

At present, Olympiads are offered to learners in:
1. Natural Sciences – for grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9
2. Life Sciences – for Grades 10 & 11
3. Physical sciences – for Grades 10 & 11

On an annual basis, between 13 000 to 18 000 learners have participated in these Olympiads. The schools that participate include Government, independent, and private schools. These numbers are exceedingly small when compared to the actual number of attending primary and secondary
schools in South Africa.

Participation in the Olympiads is dependent on the payment of an entry fee, and it is open to all learners. While there has been a fair cross-section of learners participating from government and disadvantaged schools, their numbers are not significant enough for one to predict any long-term gains for improving the number of black learners that may perform better in the Sciences. 

It is often stated that many learners in South Africa do not enter because they cannot afford to pay the entry fees charged. The Olympiad committee made many attempts to the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to sponsor learners from disadvantaged schools to participate. In this way, many more learners could be exposed to the Olympiads to improve the teaching and learning of the sciences.

Olympiads Aim To Identify Talent In The Science Field

This talent can be identified through participation in the first round of the Olympiads, the final round of the Olympiads, and revision programs. Learners will be exposed to the problem-solving approach enabling them to improve significantly in science. The program will reach many more parts of the country, including the rural areas.

Further development of talent could be achieved through training camps, tuition groups, and participation in international Olympiads (IJSO, IBO, IPHO, and ICHO competitions).

Other Olympiads are also being organized in South Africa. The National Research Foundation (NRF South Africa) in conjunction with the South African Agency for Science and Technology (SAASTA) has promoted a Senior Olympiad for over 50 years in Physical and Life Sciences at Grade 12 level. Grade 10 and 11 learners are also allowed to participate in this Olympiad. This Olympiad is not affiliated with any international Olympiad.

Benefits of Science Olympiads

Development of Skills

The development of general knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values in the spirit of science.

Enhances Analytical Skills

The development of Science to foster problem-solving and creative thinking

Application of Knowledge

The application of scientific knowledge and skills to problems in innovative ways.

Enrichment in Science

Enrichment in science and meaningful concept formation in learners.

Creates A Platform to Showcase Talent 

Olympiads serve as a platform to showcase talents and create opportunities for universities to scoop up that talent.

Create Interest and Develop Positive Attitudes to Science

To create an interest in and to develop positive attitudes to science, ecology and the environment.

Empower Teachers

To empower teachers with a wide range of skills and data response types of questions.

Create Interest and Develop Positive Attitudes to Science

To encourage learners to develop a passion for science that may encourage them to pursue careers in Science and Technology

Olympiad Registration 

Register your school and learners for the South African Science Olympiads by completing the Registration Form.

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