North West – The North West University’s Mafikeng Campus Science Centre has welcomed the donation of a BMW 3 Series educational display vehicle as a result of a joint effort between BMW South Africa and The Department of Science and Technology (DST).
As part of the automobile manufacturer’s continued commitment to enhancing drive, passion and excellence in mathematics, science, engineering and technology studies in the country, BMW South Africa has once again collaborated with the DST in the handover of the fourth BMW 3 Series educational display car.
The vehicle was officially handed over to the UNW at a ceremony on Wednesday, 18 September where Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Advocate Michael Masutha addressed the students, guests and media. “As the vehicle boasts various technologies, which are all inspired by science, research and innovation, I trust the vehicle will inspire learners with hope and energy to excel in their studies and chosen careers.”
The role of DST in the development of science centres is to contribute to the existence of an environment that enables local science centres to operate optimally. “The science centres serve to educate and promote science and technology by engaging schools and the public as well as to develop, nurture, encourage and support talents in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) making the collaboration with BMW South Africa hugely beneficial,” added Masutha.
The BMW 3 Series educational display cars were built in the pre-production stage of the new BMW 3Series at Plant Rosslyn, Pretoria in early 2012. As pre-production vehicles, they are not allowed to be registered and would have been scrapped.
“Deciding to put these vehicles to better use was an easy decision to make and one that we are very proud of,” said Esther Langa, Manager: Corporate Affairs for BMW South Africa. “We have seen from our BMW Maths, Science and Technology Excellence Project (MST) programme, running in 42 schools around the country, that kids learn about science and maths best when presented with real-world practical examples that they can touch, see and feel,” added Langa.
BMW South Africa’s MST Project deploys mobile laboratories, known as BMW Centres of Excellence, to schools that serve historically disadvantaged communities. As a result, more than 40 000 learners and 148 teachers are direct beneficiaries of this Project, which delivers maths and science pass rates around 20% higher than the national average.
The Cape Town Science Centre, Vuwani Science Centre in Limpopo and Unizul Science Centre in KwaZulu Natal have already benefited from their BMW 3Series educational display cars which were donated over the last couple of months.
The final BMW 3Series educational display vehicle will be handed over to the Osizweni Discovery Centre in Mpumalanga. In addition, BMW South Africa will also be developing interactive graphical displays which will use imagery text and video materials to highlight basic scientific concepts such as inertia, acceleration, combustion and friction, to illustrate how they are present in and enable cars to perform. These graphical displays will complement the car displays at each of the science centres.