A TEAM of four Eastern Cape pupils have scooped the title of national champions in South Africa’s premier annual national science competition.
Minquiz is organised by minerals research and development company Mintek. The quiz has been running for 24 years.
"We want to identify and keep an eye on students interested in sciences so we can build them up,” Mintek representative Brandon de Gee said.
A total of 35 schools took part in the provincial rounds. Teams of three from each school completed a written test and the top five schools in each of the two categories went on to participate in an oral quiz.
The categories were gold, for previously disadvantaged schools, and platinum, for former Model C schools.
The top two pupils from each category as calculated by the written quiz results made up the provincial team.
The four Grade 12 pupils who represented the Eastern Cape at the national competition in Johannesburg were Febin Korula, 17, from Selborne College in East London, Mbasa Khunge, 17, from Masiphathisane High School in Motherwell, Tabiso Busani, 19, from Lungisa High School in KwaDwesi and Riccardo Swanepoel, 18, from Hoerskool Framesby in Port Elizabeth’s western suburbs.
"I think we won because we were able to communicate effectively in the oral rounds. We weren’t afraid to share answers among ourselves and it’s that freedom to express ourselves that gave us the upper hand,” Riccardo said.
Mbasa said the experience had been all about team-work. "Winning was such an amazing thing,” he said.
Tabiso said: "It was a learning curve.”
Febin was the top pupil in the platinum category nationally, scoring 87.5% in the written quiz. "The competition was really stiff ... It’s encouraging to know that next year I’ll be doing something I’m good at,” he said.
He received a netbook for his achievement.
The pupils each won a cash prize of R3575 for their schools and a portable microscope valued at R1500 for themselves.
The team members all wish to pursue degrees in science or mathematics.