The search is on for interested sparks to join HIP2B²’s iThink Challenge

The search is on for Limpopo high school learners to take part in the first round of the national HIP2B² iThink Challenge, which will take place at Merensky High School in Tzaneen on Tuesday 26 July.

The annual Challenge is a key touch point for Mark Shuttleworth’s HIP2B² initiative, which was founded to promote the study of maths, science and technology-related subjects.  These subjects are directly linked to analytical thinking and problem-solving, proven to be critical skills to budding South African entrepreneurs.

More than 5,000 learners, from Grades 8 to 11, are expected to compete in the regional rounds, which will coincide with the roll out of National Science Week (Monday 1 until Friday 5 August). The Department of Science and Technology celebrates science during the annual awareness week with a number of initiatives including the HIP2B² iThink Challenge, which is implemented across all nine provinces in conjunction with the South African Agency for Science and Technology (SAASTA).

The Limpopo regional round will be hosted by HIP2B² Brand Ambassadors Chantel Schoeman, Christoff Coetzee, Dikeledi Kgomo, Dumisani Zitha and Genevieve Botha. According to Schoeman learners will have to participate in a variety of science and maths related tasks, riddles and problems in a similar style and format to the hit-television series the Amazing Race. Learners will utilise various HIP2B² touch points including the brand’s website, magazine and radio to search for clues to the various tasks and questions.

Each school can enrol up to three teams, and each team must consist of four core team members and four support members – eight in total. “Participants must be able to think on their feet, have an interest in science, maths and technology and be able to communicate well,” says Schoeman, who also stresses that participants don’t have to be ‘boffins’. “We want to invite as many learners as possible to participate.  The HIP2B2 iThink Challenge is all about integrating maths and science into real-life experiences in a fun yet relevant way.”

The winners of the Limpopo regional round will then compete in a digital round against the other eight provincial winners and the top three teams from the digital round will then be flown to Cape Town in September to go head-to-head against one another.  The winning team will secure the HIP2B2 iThink Champion title, and each of its members will receive a branded team laptop, in addition to a host of prizes.

“There is a great need in our country to inspire and encourage young learners to do maths and science at school and for those that have already accepted the challenge to invest in themselves, to work harder and do better at maths and science,” says HIP2B² General Manager Cathryn Treasure. “A workforce skilled in maths, science and technology-related fields armed with a ‘can do’ attitude is key to the economic prosperity of South Africa and is in part what prompted Shuttleworth to launch the HIP2B² initiative nine years ago.”

SAASTA’s National Project Co-ordinator Erna Taljaard concurs. “If we don’t commit to improving the skills and expertise of South Africa’s youth, we will not be able to strengthen our country’s economy and thereby its ability to sustain itself. HIP2B2’s iThink Challenge is a fun event that takes place during National Science Week, bringing together learners from across the country in order to overturn any negative perceptions they might have about these subjects. The tasks are thought provoking and engaging.”

For entry forms and more information about the 2011 HIP2B² iTHINK Challenge please contact Suma Jovner from Wordwise on tel: 021 843 3849, cell: 082 436 3195 or email suma@mwebbiz.co.za