oa The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning - A contact-based practical approach to STEM projects in South Africa - practitioners’ corner

Volume 13 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1818-9687
  • E-ISSN: 2519-5670



In South-Africa, there exists a shortage of technicians, technologists and engineers. This paper aims to document one approach that can be followed to entice young inspiring and intelligent learners from the secondary teaching institutions to enroll for engineering studies at a recognised university through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) -based projects. The Technolab at the University of Johannesburg is an entity that was started to promote the Engineering School of the University to secondary schools. The aim is to use exciting fun technology project challenges to entice younger learners to enroll for engineering studies at the University of Johannesburg. The technology project challenges are administered by the Technolab at the University of Johannesburg. In this paper, three of the main Technolab projects are discussed, including the difficulties experienced in terms of the logistics and difficulty level of the project. The primary contribution of this paper is the model adopted to host STEM-based projects in South Africa and the impact of this model that leads to increased participation. In 2016 and 2017 for the AfrikaBot competition, there were 45 and 56 participants respectively and 25 and 40 successful completions respectively. For the CO2 dragster challenge, from 2014 to 2017, the number of participants increased from 22 to 129. For the Weather Station challenge during 2014 and 2015, there were a total of 22 participating groups and 14 successful completions.

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