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Tuesday, 26 March, 2002

The sky is no limit for learners at Fezeka Secondary

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Minister of Education, on the unveiling of a new telescope at Fezeka Secondary School, Guguletu.

The sky is no longer the limit for learners at Fezeka Secondary School in Guguletu, thanks to the donation of a powerful, 90 mm telescope to the new Astronomy Club at the school.

Young astronomers at the school can now learn more about the planets and galaxies of the universe by scanning the heavens themselves.

The International Science Discovery & Learning Center (ISD&L), a project of the African-American Male Achievers Network (A-MAN) of the United States, has donated the telescope as part of a broader project to promote science in disadvantaged schools in South Africa.

A-MAN (ISD&L) has chosen a highly appropriate moment to encourage an interest in astronomy, as Mark Shuttleworth, one of our most enterprising citizens, prepares to blast off into space with the Russian space programme.

We thank Dr Bettye Walker and Professor Hal Walker, President and Chair of the ISD&L respectively, and the organisation, for their generous gift and for their commitment to technology education in South Africa

We appreciate all that you and A-MAN (ISD&L) are doing to encourage learners to consider careers as scientists, particularly those from our poorer communities.

A-MAN (ISD&L) has invested R3 918 000 in South Africa since 1994. It became directly involved in partnership projects in South Africa in 1997 at the request of former President, Nelson Mandela.

New projects in 2002 include starting Astronomy Clubs in South Africa and equipping them with telescopes donated through space science organisations based in the United States, supported by local observatory staff.

The ISD&L is organising educational gift packages donated through major African-American Sorority organisations to South African learners. A-MAN and Rotary International are funding state-of-the-art computer centres throughout the country.

A-MAN (ISD&L) is also interested in HIV/AIDS educational programmes, using information technology, and educational HIV/AIDS research using methods modeled in the United States and South Africa.

The Western Cape Education Department is a planning a "First African in Space" educational programme with the Shuttleworth Foundation to coincide with Mark Shuttleworth's space flight in April.

We'll ask him to wave to the learners at Fezeka Secondary as he passes overhead.

Enquiries: André Gaum 082-772-6608

Issued by:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
Email: pattwell@pawc.wcape.gov.za
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