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Eskom successfully launches pilot School’s Nuclear Debate Programme
Thursday, 05 October 2017: Eskom has successfully launched its first school’s nuclear debate programme in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province. Rocklands Intermediate School took the first prize followed by Limekhaya Secondary School in second place and St Colmcille Senior Secondary School in third place.
 
The three day event kicked off on Tuesday, 03 October and ended today (Thursday, 05 October) with students from eight schools around Port Elizabeth debating a number of topics around nuclear power generation. The students showcased their reasoning and debating skills and extensive amount of research done, by presenting compelling arguments to the panel of adjudicators from Eskom and the Department of Basic Education.
 
Eskom’s Acting General Manager for nuclear new build, Loyiso Tyabashe said: “This is really a journey for young future leaders to understand beyond what they see and realise.  For you this was the start of the journey and you have become the ambassadors, as you move forward on this journey to make other people understand the positives and potential negatives of nuclear power.”
 
“The main objective of the School’s Nuclear Debate programme is to empower learners with debating and public speaking skills. Eskom aims to create awareness about the most important aspects of nuclear power, to bring facts to the fore and to debate, correct myths, fears and misconceptions that may exist regarding nuclear power,” adds Tyabashe.
 
The School Nuclear Debate initiative is part of Eskom’s five-year Schools Adoption & Skills Development programme. The programme is aimed at enhancing and promoting excellence in education, by providing learning equipment, infrastructure and teacher support resources to schools in the Eastern Cape Province.
 
Sedick Davis, Eskom’s General Manager: Nuclear Specialist closed off the event saying: “Eskom wants South Africa to have critical conversations around nuclear power and it is therefore encouraging to see young people who are critical in their thinking. We want you to understand as much of the facts and detail, as you possibly can. This is why the structure of a debate is important, because it calls for looking at both sides of the coin. Koeberg power station is for instance, Eskom’s top performing plant, in terms of environmental cleanliness, viability and reliability. The plant is performing at the very highest level of safety and is the cheapest to run, because of the cheap price of nuclear fuel.”
 
“It is important not to let your socio-economic circumstances define your future.  You need to invest more time in mathematics and science – let these subjects play an important role in your life if you want to follow a career in nuclear science. Work hard at that and keep the confidence. What you have demonstrated here - the ability to communicate - is very important. You guys are on the right track,” he added.
 
The first day of the debate began with two schools per cluster competing against one another in separate rounds, tackling the topic: “nuclear power plants are safe.” The second day saw the remaining four schools debate the topic: “nuclear power plants are expensive,” and the last day was the two finalists schools debating the topic: “nuclear power plants are bad for the environment”.
 
The overall winner of the debate, Rocklands Intermediate School had each of its debating team members receiving a tablet, a certificate and a backpack. The school also took home a floating trophy. Limekhaya Secondary School team members each received a gift voucher worth R4 000.00, a certificate and a backpack. St Colmcille Senior Secondary School team members each received a gift voucher worth R2 500.00, a certificate and a backpack. All other participating learners received a certificate of participation and a backpack.
 
The schools selected to form part of the programme are not part of any Eskom-initiated projects and are in the Department of Education’s 560 Schools Project. The schools chosen to participate in this year’s programme were:
  • Hankey Senior Secondary School
  • John Walton Senior Secondary School
  • Limekhaya Secondary School
  • Molly Blackburn Senior Secondary School
  • Moses Mabida Senior Secondary School
  • Rocklands Intermediate School
  • St Colmcille Senior Secondary School
  • Zanolwazi Senior Secondary School
 
 
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