Natural Science Olympiad™

Natural Science Olympiad™


Olympiads and competitions are used as a tool to identify and nurture talent in SET and it is vital to embark on these types of activities at primary school level to build analytic skills in mathematics and science from an earlier age. Mathematical and scientific knowledge is hierarchical in nature and, therefore, strong prior knowledge is critical for conceptual development. Considering this, NRF|SAASTA introduced the Natural Science Olympiad™ to grade 4 to 9 learners in 2011 with the aim of stimulating interest for participation in the NRF|SAASTA National Science Olympiad™, which includes several elements that further nurture talent that could ultimately feed into the STEMI industry.

Entry requirements

Educators enter the Olympiad on behalf of their learners by submitting a completed entry form directly to NRF|SAASTA. No individual entries from learners are accepted. The entry form can be downloaded from


The Natural 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 encouraged to participate to improve academic performance; test their knowledge against peers; and to be empowered with the knowledge that is not necessarily taught in class. In addition, the top participants are invited for further development during a trip to Gauteng, where they are exposed role modeling campaigns and industry excursions, amongst others.


Grade 4 to 9 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 multiple choice questions in the Natural 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 obtained a mark of 50% and above, receives a participation certificate. In addition, the top learners are invited to an award ceremony, where the top achievers are awarded prizes based on their performance.

Competition timelines

The examination is written during May each year, followed by the award ceremony during the September/October school holiday.

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