Protocol: The DISCOVERY International Science Based Competition
The National Youth Development Trust [NYDT] initiated the development of an online, virtual competition for emerging scientists and leaders under the age of 25 to promote career path development and establish them as competitive in a Global learning environment.
The DISCOVERY competition is defined as
An international Science and Technology based contest where the Ability and Skills Complex of emerging scientists [The studying and Working Youth] to (i) identify, (ii) analyze and (iii) solve practical problems and (iv) present solutions, is measured, recognized and rewarded within a given accepted and accredited assessment framework.
The essence of the Competition is the application of the principles on Science and Technology to solve practical problems within Global context.
The principal objective of the Competition is the discovery of scientific facts that has not been known to Science before, or the unique application of technology/techniques
An international Committee/Commission has been established to oversee the formulation of standards as far as (i) content, (ii) rules for assessment, (iii) the allocation of awards and (iv) ethical conduct for competition staff in general are concerned.
Participants in the DISCOVERY Science Based Competition are required to
1. Select and define a relevant theme for scientific investigation
2. Collect, analyze and assess relevant existing knowledge and information through
b. research, and
c. scientific experiments.
3. Apply the principles of Science, specifically the key [“Gateway”] school subjects to
a. explain phenomena,
b. analyze problems, and
c. solve problems.
4. Utilize available technology to
a. investigate problems,
b. discover new knowledge,
c. find solutions, and
d. design new technology.
5. Reach a credible conclusion, supported by evidence, within the particular and respective learning environments
6. Present the results of the research to Juries online, virtual and/or in real time through
a. scientific reporting,
d. real time and virtual posters,
e. virtual scientific wall-charts, and
f. video’s, CD’s and DVD’s.
Objectives of the Science Based Competition Programme:
§ International Learning Communities: The establishment of technology-supported Practical Learning Communities [International learning networks] - to support Science Based Competition is a top priority of the NYDT and its partners.
§ Science Work-Labs: The establishment of integrated, high technology facilities [“digital laboratories”] consisting of laboratory equipment, microscopes and computers where emerging scientists may work shoulder-to-shoulder with teachers and coaches. Hypotheses can be investigated in close consultation with experts who live on the other side of the Globe. Several mentors or coaches in various countries can assist one school student on another Continent with advice and guidance.
§ Innovative teaching methods and techniques: The design and implementation of co-curricular practical and innovative teaching methods and techniques  to enhance and support understanding and knowledge levels of the key [Gateway] Subjects Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology [Including Ergonomics], Economics and Informatics [CIT, EIT/IIT], and other subjects
§ The Global Learner-Teacher Relationship: The development of the in-the-classroom relationship between the teacher as project coach and student as intern in the global high-tech environment is a high priority.
§ Career Coaching: The development of teachers as career coaches is a critical issue as far as school level development is concerned.
§ Career Milestones: The development of a programme to establish mile-stones in support of focused career path development is critical to support the “paper only” qualification or “paper only” career
§ Early career experience: It is important for emerging leaders and future professionals to gain - from early age - experience in a particular profession, in order to position themselves in their preferred career paths
§ Training of Judges/Jury Members: An official training programme, and the opportunity for jury members to gain an official qualification is seen as a national priority.
§ Global Technological Development: To be on par with international trends, the Programme has to include online/virtual, as well as real time participation and competition
§ Global Competitiveness: The ability to participate internationally and the opportunity to achieve international achievements and awards through competition, is critical to ensure Global competitiveness
§ Opportunities for disadvantaged students living with disability: The opportunity to learn, participate and compete internationally must be created for students who live in disadvantaged school communities, and those who live with physical disability and serious/life threatening injury and/or disease. This is part of any human rights based learning environment.
Components: The key components of the International Science Based Competition are:
1. Co-curricular activity: It is a co-curricular career path development programme, in support of the formal education and tuition of emerging scientists
2. It is a Scientific Learning Expedition: The emphasis is on participation and competition: a significant number of teachers and students of widely differing interests and abilities may pursue project based scientific activities of interest to them.
3. Recognition of individual brilliance: Students may participate on individual basis in the Competition
4. Teamwork and networking ability: Students may participate in teams of not more than 10 [preferably boys and girls]
5. Dimensions of the Competition: The competition is presented online [virtually] and real time
6. Presentation of Projects: The results of experiments may be presented to juries on online basis and per video conference.
7. Awards: Achievements will be rewarded through the allocation of Junior Science Awards
8. Colours: Participants who compete in inter-city-, inter-provincial and/or inter-national contests against other teams will qualify for colours
9. Participation Platform: Each Country has its own participation platform.
§ The New Frontiers Science Academy and Competition was established to accommodate and facilitate online, virtual participation and competition from intra-school level to International and Intercontinental level is platform for Young Scientists in South Africa and Africa.
§ Emerging students are now empowered to establish New Frontiers Science Academies at school level to participate in Science Based Competition, within the framework of the Young Scientists for Africa initiative
10. Assessment: The projects will be judged by on fair and objective basis by juries consisting of knowledgeable persons from various countries. Jury members will have authority and standing in the scientific community.
11. International Standards. As there are several international competitions on various Continents, an International Standards and Ethics Commission was established to determine a framework and structure for online, virtual Science Based Competition.
The focus of the Commission is on the following aspects:
§ Science based competition has a direct influence on the career path development of school and junior college students and has to be managed with responsibility [It has a direct influence - for instance - on the allocation of bursaries for study at university or college].
§ The need set and maintain standardized rules for ethical conduct in competitions as far as participation and judging is concerned
§ The need to set standards for participation, the format of projects [online and real time], the selection of juries, the training of coaches [specifically schoolteachers], the rules of judging [criteria, method of judging etc], the allocation of awards on objective and ethical basis
§ The need to recognize the achievements of students involved in science based competition on fair and objective basis
§ The need to recognize and reward the contributions of by juries
§ The design of a system that will support the allocation of sponsorships and assist with regulation as far as tax benefits are concerned
National Youth Development Trust [NYDT] and
Research Foundation for Emerging Scientists [ReFES]
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