Inauguration Of South African Large Telescope

15 November 2005

Madam Speaker, on Thursday, last week, the most advanced large telescope in the world was inaugurated in Sutherland in the Northern Cape.

Together with Namibia, hosting the world`s most sensitive high-energy gamma ray telescope, this event places Southern Africa at the forefront of astronomical technology and research. The SA Large Telescope is a collaboration of the ANC-led government with German, Polish, American, British and New Zealand partners. Sixty per cent of the components were South African manufactured and 60% of the construction budget was spent in the country.

The legacy of apartheid has resulted in an under-represented majority in the sciences and we welcome the initiative that has resulted as a spin-off of SALT. Amongst these is the Northern Cape education department in partnership with the relevant bodies that has begun an intervention in schools, targeting teachers and learners. This includes building science laboratories; establishing a maths and science academy in Sutherland, and providing further training for teachers.

The onus now is on the youth, especially those who live in the areas in and around Sutherland, to be inspired to broaden their horizons to include the study of maths and science.

The Freedom Charter states that the doors of learning and culture shall be opened. The creation of the SALT has opened these doors even wider.

I thank you.

ANC Member of Parliament

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