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Entertainment of Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Source: ameyaw debrah/

DStv EUTELSAT Star Awards launched to promote Science and Technology in African schools

Digital services made available by satellite to all four corners of the world are recognized as powerful engines driving economic and social progress. To continue to propel forward the expansion and democratization of the Information Society, the development of technology and science skills among students is a key factor. Africa is no exception to this – much like other regions of the world, stimulating young minds is core to creating relevant solutions for the development of the African continent.

With a shared vision that education is a key driver for the development of Africa’s social and economic landscape, MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat Communications, supported by Mindset Learn, have assembled their expertise to initiate a pan-African student competition called the “DStv Eutelsat Star Awards”. The aim of the Awards is to inspire innovative thinking among secondary and high-school students, to create awareness on how science and technology can be applied to everyday life, and to show the many ways that satellites already impact on the development of the African continent.

The awards take the form of a competition open to 14-19 year-old students in 42 countries. Students are invited to write an essay or design a poster on satellite technology and how it can assist further development of their communities, country or the African continent. Country winners vying for the overall prize will go on to compete at an international level, adjudicated on 12 September 2011 by an international judging panel. The overall winner will be invited to see a live rocket launch and to Eutelsat’s headquarters in France, Merit award winners will win a trip to Johannesburg to see DStv’s technical facilities and television studios at the MultiChoice Africa offices. They will also tour the Mindset education broadcasting facilities.

A resource booklet for teachers and students has been developed for the competition and can be accessed on or from MultiChoice or Mindset Offices (South Africa only). MultiChoice Africa will leverage its network of MultiChoice Resource Centres (MRCs) which enable almost 1,000 schools in Africa to access information and educational television resources. Two 26-minute programmes, produced by Eutelsat, on the conquest of space and how satellite applications impact directly or indirectly on everyday lives, will also be broadcast by the Mindset Learn channel on DStv and available on the Internet at

Commenting on the new initiative, the President of MultiChoice Africa, Collins Khumalo said

“We are very excited about this new initiative. Investing in the development of our continent is always a priority for us. Investing in young people and education is an ideal we take very seriously. The “DStv Eutelsat Star Awards” is another way of showing our continued commitment and support for Africa and its next generation. Africa and its people will benefit from a new generation of big thinkers who will take on the new world and become change agents and leaders. We are also very proud of our partnership with Eutelsat and Mindset Learn on these Awards. This is testimony to the fact that our relationships with our partners are far-reaching and go beyond the traditional borders with a common vision that will touch many generations to come”.

Adding to this, Michel de Rosen, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, said: “The information society opens a myriad of opportunities for emerging countries to accelerate their economic development on an equitable basis. Working with MultiChoice and Mindset Learn on this new Award is a way for Eutelsat to show our commitment to encouraging African students to engage with new technologies. Over half a century since Arthur C. Clarke developed his vision for using satellites to connect the world, space still represents a field of adventure which can stimulate the minds of students. We are honoured to launch this joint initiative with MultiChoice and, together with our longstanding partner, to demonstrate our commitment to developing digital services in Africa.”