science fair2The Malawi National Schools Science Fair is an annual event which gives secondary school students a platform where they can showcase their scientific projects made from locally sourced materials. This year’s science fair was held from 1st to 2nd July at Kamuzu Academy in Kasungu under the theme: Promotion of Science and Technological Innovations in Students: The Basis for Socio-economic Development in Malawi.

In fulfilling its mission to promote, coordinate and regulate the development and application of science, technology and innovation in Malawi, National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) has financially and technically been supporting organization of the National Schools Science Fair since its inception in 2009.
The competition drew the participation of various government and private secondary schools across Malawi, 41 of which made it to the final presentations under the following categories; Environment and Climate Change, Energy Sources, Health, Value Addition and Preservation as well as Scientific and Technological Innovations.

Maghemo Secondary School emerged overall winners with two awards for producing a Solar Geyser under the Energy Sources category. They got away with a total amount of MK480,000. Second place went to Katoto Secondary School who also won two awards for making an Incubator for Chicken Eggs under Scientific and Technological Innovation and got MK430,000 in total. Atsikana Paulendo Private secondary School scooped third place with two awards as well and received a total of MK410,000.

In her speech, the guest of honour the Deputy Director of Secondary Education in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology; Mrs Ruth Samati Kambali, stated that she was impressed with the projects that were displayed because they were very innovative and used locally available materials. She commended the students for their creativity in transforming the resources into useful inventions.

Mrs Kambali further extended an invite to the industry and academia to take up projects that have potential for business or improving lives of Malawians. However, she stressed on the need to put in place mechanisms that will protect ideas of the students against intellectual property theft and exploitation. She commended schools that participated in the fair and she was particularly impressed with girls’ participation in the fair and saw this as a welcome development as science is a domain that has traditionally been considered a male domain.

Kambali assured the gathering that the ministry through NCST will not only continue to support the event but also fully participate in its organization. She extended gratitude to Kamuzu Academy, Press Trust, NCST and Malawi Bureau of Standards for making financial contributions towards the science fair and called on other organizations and companies to come forward and partner with the government so as to move the Science and technological agenda forward.

Speaking at the event, NCST Director General , Mr. Antony Muyepa, said the Science Fair is a good initiative as it encourages students to develop a positive interest in science. He also acknowledged the fact that most girls consider science as a difficult subject hence the need to support and motivate them as so that they could actively participate in advancing the nation.

“In respect to this, NCST conducts mentor sessions for girls in secondary schools across the country and is also involved in mentoring sessions in schools as well as the Girls’ Science Camp which is coordinated and hosted by the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST).

Besides annual science fairs, “we also organise Open Days to promote national science and technological awareness and culture as well as the Girls’ Science Camps”. The Commission also holds Bi-annual Research Dissemination Conferences that bring together researchers, scientists, industry practitioners, and policy makers to promote documentation of relevant science and technology information,” he said.

Mr Muyepa pledged NCST’s continued support and collaboration with all players in the science field to ensure that science and technology continues to positively influence Malawi’s way of doing things.