03.09.2014 - Natural Sciences Sector

Africa Engineering Week: Engineering is a life changer!

Addressing the current challenges to sustainable development – meeting the needs of a growing population with limited resources - will require innovative engineering and technology-based solutions. In Africa, there is a great need for engineers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); however the per capita number of engineering professionals is lower than in other regions. Africa Engineering Week is being celebrated in schools across the region to increase the visibility of engineering and its role in sustainable development, to encourage students to study engineering by supplementing STEM curriculum with practical engineering applications, and to incite more African countries to participate ensuring the sustainability of these efforts.

From 1 to 5 September 2014, students will get hands-on experience demonstrating how they can be part of the solution, to promote awareness of engineering as a career among youth. Students in some schools across Africa will participate in educational activities, for example ingenious Kano kits containing a Raspberry Pi single-board computer will be distributed among the schools so students get familiar with the study field of computer science.

This first Engineering Week will be celebrated throughout Africa. It was officially inaugurated on 1 September at the University of Johannesburg, where a full week of events is organized under the theme "Engineering is a life changer!". The inauguration event is the result of a collaboration between UNESCO, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). Keynote speakers presented several aspects of the need for engineering skills in Africa to an audience of engineering experts from South Africa and abroad. The ceremony was opened by Professor Rukingama, Director of the UNESCO office in Zimbabwe and included speakers from WFEO, IEEE, FAEO, SAFEO, Intel and Airbus. The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, closed the ceremony. Other activities that will take place include a four-day exhibition, open to all, showcasing the nine engineering disciplines taught at various universities across South Africa as well as a conference on sustainable engineering.

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