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Developing the future of girls in science, technology engineering, mathematics

The Vaal University of Technology will host the inaugural STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Seminar today, 26 August, at the Vanderbiljpark campus. The purpose of this seminar is to invite exceptional women who have excelled in their careers in the STEM fields to interact and serve as role models for young girls and young women who are in high school or pursuing undergraduate studies.

The aim is to encourage female learners to choose STEM-related subjects and increase their chances of being accepted at tertiary institutions for studies in the relevant programmes.

Role modelling is a powerful tool for motivation and inspiration. The young women will hear first-hand accounts of women who have overcome obstacles, much like the ones they now face, to become leaders in their fields of expertise. It is expected that 100 VUT students and 100 high school learners and their teachers (10 per school) from previously disadvantaged schools in and around the Sedibeng and Metsimaholo regions will attend the seminar.

The value of such stimulation for the learners, teachers and students cannot be underestimated. The event, which is held during Women's Month, also forms as part of the build-up to the VUT's 50th anniversary celebrations.

This event will allow for engagement with STEM teachers from the surrounding schools to share challenges and find solutions to some of the problems they face in a classroom situation offering STEM-related subjects. Through this initiative, the young women will:

* Be awarded an opportunity to visit laboratories and engage in live experiments; * Be assisted to make correct career choices; * Share their experiences with classmates back at school; and * Encourage learners' interest in innovation and entrepreneurship.

The programme will comprise career exhibitions from government agencies and private entities in the STEM-related industries and the Vaal University of Technology in the STEM environment.

This project was put together and guided by the vision and mission statement of the university, namely:

Vision

To be a university that leads in innovative knowledge and quality technology education.

Mission

To produce employable graduates who can make an impact on society.

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