GIA (Gemological Institute of America) held two GIA Junior Gemologist Program™ workshops in which 35 students from Johannesburg, South Africa, and Gaborone, Botswana, learned the basics of gemology, mineralogy and geology. The workshops were held in Johannesburg on April 11 and in Gaborone on April 12, both being held for the first time in the respective countries.
The students between the age group of 10 to 15, received hands-on, practical training with loupes and other specialized gemological equipment as they learned to identify and assess gems such as quartz, fluorite, corundum and calcite. Students from Tshwaragano Primary School, Ikageng Primary School, Legae Academy and Mogoditshane Community Junior Secondary School – all in Gaborone – participated in the program.
“Education is a powerful force that will drive opportunities for these students and ultimately for their communities,” said Donna Baker, GIA’s president and CEO. “We are pleased to contribute to this effort and introduce young people to gemology.”
The workshops were attended by local and national officials along with Donna Baker and Paul Kreutz, a member of GIA’s Board of Governors. Along with them, Banyana Moloisame, chief diamond inspector of South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator, attended the program in Johannesburg. The event in Gaborone included Pauline Paledi, executive director of Botswana Diamond Manufacturers Association; Jacob A.R. Thamage, coordinator of Diamond Hub Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources; Levis Thupa, accreditation specialist from Botswana Training Authority; and Susan Matlolela, principal minerals officer of Diamond Hub Ministry of Minerals.
GIA developed its Junior Gemologist Program to teach gemology, geology and mineralogy to students and youth groups and has so far trained over 24,000 students in the programme.