The National Science Olympiad™ was started in 1964 by FEST (Foundation for Education, Science, and Technology), an organisation that
became the business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2002 and subsequently renamed as the South African Agency for
Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). The aim of the National Science Olympiad is to identify and nurture evident and latent
talent in Sciences, encourage excellence in Science education, while also stimulating interest. It seeks to inspire the youth to consider
careers in Science and Technology to address the inadequate renewal of SET human capital in South Africa.
Physical and Life Sciences Educators enter for the Olympiad on behalf of the learners by submitting a completed entry form that can be downloaded from http://www.saasta.ac.za.
The National Science Olympiad is coordinated by the Science Education Division of the South African Agency for Science and
Technology Advancement; a business unit of the National Research Foundation.
Learners are provided with the opportunity to compete and test their knowledge in Physical (Physics and Chemistry) or Life
Sciences on a national scale. The top participants are then provided with the opportunity for further development during a
Science Focus Week, where they are exposed to different applications of Science through lectures, exhibitions, and industry
excursions, amongst others.
Grade 10 to 12 learners from schools based in South Africa and the South African Developing Countries (SADC).
How it works
Exam papers are couriered to participating schools on the scheduled date. The participants then engage in a paper-based,
curriculum-aligned and beyond examination that consists of 100 multiple choice questions in either the Life Sciences or Physical
Sciences stream. The answer sheets are then collected from the schools and marked by an independent body. Subsequently,
the results are then communicated to each school.
R35 per learner.
Each learner, who scored 50% and above, receives a participation certificate with his or her result range. In addition, the top learners are
invited to a focus week that concludes with an award ceremony. At this ceremony, top performing learners are segregated into categories
and awarded with the latest technological gadgets based on their performance. Finally, the top four learners are announced that will be
attending the London International Youth Science Forum.
The written examination is conducted during May, followed by the Focus Week during the September/October school holidays and ending off with a
prestigious Gala event.