South Africa

„South African Life Sciences Olympiad“

South Africa

Contact data

Country coordinator

Sooklachar (Robin) Naidoo

Hosting institution

South African Science Olympiad
65 Turnberry Street, Blue Valley Estate
0157, Pretoria
Gauteng, South Africa


Appointing institution

Department of Science and Innovation  

Building No. 53 (CSIR South Gate Entrance)  

Meiring Naudé Road   Brummeria  Pretoria

Organization & structure

South African Science Olympiad (Administered by National Science Olympiad)

Three rounds - all administered by SA Science Olympiads

First Round (practice Round) - free to schools that enter - March to June

Second Round (Final Round) - August (first Week)

Third Round (Selection Round) - February ( following year) - administered by SASO in collaoration with staff at University of KwaZulu Natal.

Number of students in first round

Varies - up to 5000 - depends on schools and entries

About 2000 enter the Final Round

About 20 to 50 write the selection tests


MCQ in the First and Second Rounds

MCQ and or True False mainly

Sometimes some theory in certain years - has varied


In a normal year, students assemble at the University for a week of lectures and Experimental preparation.

Students are encouraged to do their work using the Biology textbook by Campbell.

They are also directed to use online platforms and u-tube.

Past papers are sent to them to work on their own.

SA is a very large country and our schooling year differs fro Europe - so we have challenges in bringing them together for programmes without a great deal of expenses.

Hence the training and preparation is very limited.

Study materials

There are few special resources.

They are encouraged to complete their school syllabi, under the guidance of their teachers.

Past Olympiad papers are made available to them fo review.

The one week programme is usually run at the University and students get exposure to the Univesity laboratories - lectures and guidance is provided by two to three specialist Biology lecturers from the University.

Awards & prizes

The winners are offered medals and certificates.

There are no cash awards.

Those selected are offered team kits/outfits/colours


Type of students

Students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 in Secondary school studying Biology

Usually the Grade 11 studentss write in August of one year and get short-listed.

The selectio test is taken by the group when they are in Grade 12 (Final year in Secondary)

School year

Starts - January

Ends - December

Biology hours/week

4 - 5 hours

Hours of Classes/week

26 - 27 hours

Public Relations


The school are informed by pamphlets - Information letters and entry forms.

These are posted and sent by email in January and February each year.

It is also posted on our website.

Promotion contact

South African Science Olympiad - organisation

Statistics over the years
  • 2019: 2000 students from 150 schools (2.5% of eligible schools)

South African schools are not compelled to enter the Olympiads. It is voluntary and the numbers can vary from year to year. As a third world country, affordability is a problem as the government does not host Olympiads and does not pay for participation. So it is difficult to quantify our reach accurately.

Our Biology participation can vary from 2000 to 4000 participants from two grades.

Media coverage

It is very difficult to get publicity. This is limited sometimes to radio, TV (Once only), local newspapers do the students from their area when they are selected.


Logo of South African Life Sciences Olympiad [JPG, 19.7 KB] Download Leaflet of South African Life Sciences Olympiad [PDF, 219.8 KB] Download
Description of attached files:


Entry Forms

Selection letters