Johannesburg, South Africa – STET-ORTSA end year event was held on the 24th of October, at the Indaba Fourways, showcasing the remarkable talent and ingenuity of South African learners from primary and high schools from Johannesburg East and Ekurhuleni North Districts.

Since 2017, the STET (Support Teacher Empowerment Trust) and ORT SA, an educational NGO, have forged an unbreakable bond with a share vision; to uplift and empower black South African female teachers leading them towards the forefront of educational excellence.

Ariellah Rosenberg, CEO ORT SA said that “The coding and robotics and Technology in the classrooms programmes, implemented by ORT SA are not just training sessions; they’re transformative experiences. They are a testament to the commitment to bridging the digital divide and fostering 21st-century skills, especially in previously disadvantaged communities”.

The projects demonstrated by the learners were designed to highlight innovative solutions for challenges faced in the country, they proudly showcased projects that reflected the 21st-century skills they gained such as collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.

One of the standout projects was a Solar Traffic Light system. Developed by Grade 8 learners with the frequent load shedding incidents in mind. This project addresses the rising issue of hijackings and accidents occurring during power outages. The solar-powered system ensures traffic lights remain operational even during load shedding, providing continuous safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. An ‘only in South Africa’ moment arose when the learners set the solar panels in a box that opens automatically to avoid theft.

Another impressive solution was the Noise Detector, developed by Grade 6 learners, the device aimed at promoting a conducive learning environment within schools. This inventive device automatically alerts school principals to specific classrooms that breach a certain noise level. By doing so, it could ensure that disruptions are swiftly managed, allowing educators and learners maintain focus on teaching and learning.

These projects, among many others showcased, are a testament to the fresh thinking and adaptability of our younger generation. They also underline the effectiveness of the ORT programmes in imparting essential 21st-century skills. As these students collaborated on their projects, they cultivated communication skills, often reaching out to experts and local communities for insights and feedback.

STET Partners, principals, teachers, and local officials from the department of education attended the event, all echoing similar sentiments of admiration and pride. The innovation displayed promises a brighter future for South Africa, with its youth leading through innovation and proactiveness.

The event, besides celebrating the accomplishments of these brilliant young minds, has also set a precedent for schools across the country. It’s a call for partners everywhere to further invest in nurturing and honing the skills of our future leaders and innovators.