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CSIR Meraka Institute Receives Prestigious HP Catalyst Award to Foster Innovative STEM Education Collaborations Globally

Publication Date: 
Monday, June 27, 2011

PRETORIA, GAUTENG, SOUTH AFRICA, June 27, 2011 – CSIR Meraka Institute today announced it has been awarded a grant to participate in the HP Catalyst Initiative, a global social innovation program designed to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Contact Person

Tendani Tsedu

+27 (0) 12 841 3417

mtsedu@csir.co.za

PRETORIA, GAUTENG, SOUTH AFRICA, June 27, 2011 – CSIR Meraka Institute today announced it has been awarded a grant to participate in the HP Catalyst Initiative, a global social innovation program designed to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The network of educational institutions belonging to the program will use an interdisciplinary approach and emphasize creativity, collaboration and cross-cultural expertise to transform STEM teaching and learning, and to inspire students to use their technical and creative ingenuity to help address immediate social challenges.

Through the HP Catalyst Initiative, HP has invested more than US$10 million since 2010 and engaged with more than 55 educational institutions in 15 countries to further innovation in STEM education. As a renewed member of this distinguished international network, the CSIR Meraka Institute will join the HP Catalyst New Learner Consortium and receive a grant of HP technology, financial contributions and professional support valued at more than $150,000.

Program Details

The HP Catalyst Initiative created five global consortia in 2010, each focusing on a specific theme focused on transforming STEM education. These “sandboxes” of innovation are developing new approaches to teacher preparation, online education, technology to measure learning outcomes, and engagement with students in global, collaborative learning experiences. In 2011, an additional 14 organizations have been funded as members in one of the five existing HP Catalyst consortia. The program also is adding a sixth theme, “STEM-preneur,” to focus specifically on novel ways to combine STEM education with the skills and passion of entrepreneurship. In total, 21 organizations from 12 countries join the network of leading institutions that are transforming STEM+ teaching and learning.

The CSIR Meraka Institute will use this grant to further develop Dr Math, an online mobile tutoring system that facilitates access to subject experts in a sustainable manner through enablement of a wide uptake and participation of learners. Dr Math is the brain child of researcher Laurie Butgereit and received the Technology in Government in Africa 2011 award in Tanzania in May 2011.

The CSIR Meraka Institute  is also the Consortium lead for the Global Collaboratory initiative within the HP Catalyst.

“The HP collaboration gives us an opportunity to learn and share best practice with some of the world’s leading educational technology innovators”

Adele Botha, Principal Researcher, CSIR Meraka Institute

“Education has the power to transform the lives of individuals and communities. By bringing together leading education organizations to work in collaboration, HP is creating an international network of innovative educators who are showcasing new and powerful student-centered approaches to STEM education.”

—Gabi Zedlmayer, Vice President, Office of Global Social Innovation, HP