The Samsung & SITA 2024 Solve For Tomorrow Competition is back

Published: Friday, May 3, 2024

Education TrainingCommunity AffairsCommunity DevelopmentEconomyElectronics/ComputersYouth

The Top 20 public schools have been announced, and the contest promises to be a more thrilling experience in 2024.

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Samsung and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) have announced that they have joined hands to launch the 2024 Solve For Tomorrow Competition, aimed at bringing the best out of public schools and learners. The competition has attracted a large number of entries from schools across the country, with the Top 20 schools now officially announced.

According to Samsung, this is an opportunity for these schools to showcase their innovation and creativity in solving real-world problems.

In the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2024, it was mentioned that the power of collaboration in overcoming challenges can lead to significant achievements. The country has made progress in the last three decades, thanks to the spirit of partnership.

The Solve For Tomorrow competition is a testament to the impact of public-private partnerships and when these sectors come together, remarkable results can be attained, says Samsung.

Launched in Africa in 2023, this unique competition provides an opportunity for grade 10 and 11 learners from public schools in underserved communities to apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to address the challenges faced by their respective communities while fostering:

  • creative thinking
  • problem-solving skills, and
  • teamwork among learners.

Its goal is to nurture socially innovative ideas, with a specific emphasis on environmental challenges, says the Solve For Tomorrow Competition. 

Lenhle Khoza, B-BBEE and transformation manager at Samsung says, "As a global electronics giant that has, in the past 30 years consistently been supporting the country's transformation agenda, we are well aware of the great importance of education through technology. This global Solve For Tomorrow initiative which uses STEM as the critical component of empowerment is helping us, together with our valued partners, to continue our quest of equipping young people from local public schools with critical skills and knowledge that they will need to not only build a better local economy, but also the world at large."

Since its inception in 2023, the competition has helped learners grow and develop invaluable skills for success in the present and future. In conjunction with SITA, 51 pre-selected schools were piloted nationally. This competition is an excellent way for learners to gain a deeper understanding of STEM and display their scientific talents, says Samsung.

Tlali Tlali head of corporate affairs at SITA says, "We understand the importance of collaborations and are very excited about the future prospects of our continued partnership with Samsung. As SITA, we remain committed to leveraging IT to support the delivery of e-Government services to all citizens and we are always keen to be part of impactful programmes such as the Solve For Tomorrow competition that allow us to effect positive change in both our youth and communities at large."

According to Samsung and SITA, the programme is designed to proceed through a phased approach. In the entry phase, schools across the nation are encouraged to participate in the competition. In phase one, the preliminary stage of the competition, the top 20 schools with the best entries for 2024 are announced, and they will proceed to the next phase. These schools will have the opportunity to address an environmental challenge and come up with concrete innovations to assist in the betterment of society. They will be supported by assigned Samsung employee-mentors throughout the process.

In the second phase of the programme, Samsung will provide resources to the learners while mentors guide them. During this phase, the learners will be required to conduct research, develop and submit their paper prototypes for the challenges identified in the preliminary phase. To support the teams from the Top 20 schools for 2024, they will attend Design Thinking workshops in their respective regions. Additionally, the selected schools' teams will be sponsored with a Samsung tablet and data to assist them in research and communication with their mentors. This is a critical stage of the programme, and with Samsung's support, the learners will have the resources they need to succeed.

The Design Thinking workshops aim to teach learners valuable skills on how to:

  • approach their work
  • think critically, and
  • act like designers.

The workshops will provide a cognitive and structured process for human-centred, creative problem-solving and encourage learners to build strong teams. Additionally, learners will learn how to conduct research to develop workable solutions that can address environmental issues in their communities, Samsung says.

The Top 20 Finalists will be required to submit paper prototypes of their solutions, which will be evaluated by judges to determine the Top 10 schools that will proceed to the next phase. The Top 10 teams will receive funding to develop physical prototypes of their solutions and present them to a panel of judges in the final stage of the competition.

The Top Three schools with the winning prototypes will win cash prizes of up to R100 000 each, which will go towards STEM equipment based on the unique needs of each school. Additionally, Samsung has decided to reward each learner in the top three teams from schools with a Samsung device. The ultimate goal is for the winning schools to be like Mbilwi High School from Limpopo, which was the winner in 2023.

The Top 20 schools that have been selected include:

21. Khwezi Lomso Comprehensive School, Eastern Cape

22. HTS Louis Botha, Free state

23. Lenakeng Technical School, Free state

24. Lekgarietsi Secondary School, Free state

25. Tiisetsang High School, Free state

26. Tebogwana Engineering School of Specialisation, Gauteng

27. University of Johannesburg Academy, Gauteng

28. Buhlebemfundo Secondary School, Gauteng

29. Phulong Secondary School, Gauteng

30. NM Tsuene Secondary School, Gauteng

31. Lamula Jubilee Secondary, Gauteng

32. Mandisa Shiceka Maths and Science School, Gauteng

33. Ingqayizivele Secondary School, Gauteng

34. Umlazi Comprehensive Technical School, KwaZulu-Natal

35. Phendukani Full service High School, KwaZulu-Natal

36. Adams College, KwaZulu-Natal

37. Mbilwi Secondary School, Limpopo

38. Moyaneng Secondary School, Limpopo

39. Thengwe High School, Limpopo

40. Maphuthaditshaba Secondary School, Mpumalanga

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*Image courtesy of contributor

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