Sci­ence cen­tres for schools

The New Age (Gauteng) - - WESTERN CAPE NEWS - NA­DINE FORD-KRITZINGER nadinef@the­

THE Univer­sity of West­ern Cape (UWC) along with Gar­den Cities Arch­way Foun­da­tion, will open three more newly con­structed sci­ence cen­tres at schools soon in an ef­fort to im­prove teach­ing and learn­ing of sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics.

The ini­tia­tive by UWC in part­ner­ship with foun­da­tion and the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment, started the project to con­struct sci­ence lab­o­ra­to­ries called UWC sci­ence learn­ing cen­tres (SLCs) at schools. Each part­ner con­trib­utes one-third of the costs as­so­ci­ated with the SLCs.

The rec­tor of the UWC, Ty­rone Pre­to­rius, mem­ber of the Board Gar­den Cities NPC, Jan­nie Isaacs, and prin­ci­pals of the re­spec­tive schools, opened three new UWC Sci­ence Learn­ing Cen­tres at schools in the greater Cape Town area this week.

The schools are McGre­gor Pri­mary, Wel­tev­erede Pri­mary, Raw­sonville and Charleston Hill high schools in Paarl.

The achieve­ment of pupils and teach­ers in na­tional and in­ter­na­tional bench­mark tests painted a very bleak pic­ture and one that high­lighted a na­tional cri­sis, Prof Sha­heed Hart­ley, from the UWC, said.

“We have to start with the ba­sics in terms of sup­port­ing teach­ers to have the con­fi­dence to teach sci­ence with an ad­vanced level of un­der­stand­ing, knowl­edge and teach­ing skills,” Hart­ley said.

“Sim­i­larly, we have to be cre­ative in pro­vid­ing pupils with op­por­tu­ni­ties that will draw their in­ter­est and will­ing­ness to learn.

“Hence, de­vel­op­ing a cul­ture of sci­ence teach­ing and learn­ing will be a good start to im­prove NSC and other as­sess­ments. Cer­tainly, hav­ing a con­fi­dent and knowl­edge­able teacher in a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment pro­vided by the cen­tres is a step in the right di­rec­tion.”

The con­struc­tion of the cen­tres was an ex­ten­sion of the cur­ricu­lum sup­port pro­vided by UWC-SLCA and served as re­ward for com­mit­ted teach­ers, school man­age­ment and pupils. The new cen­tres will bring the to­tal to 48 SLCs con­structed.

The Sci­ence Learn­ing Cen­tre for Africa of the Univer­sity of the West­ern Cape (UWC-SLCA) ini­tia­tive has won a num­ber of awards for its far-reach­ing sup­port pro­grammes to im­prove the teach­ing and learn­ing of sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics.

In or­der to fa­cil­i­tate this process it has teamed up with cor­po­rate or­gan­i­sa­tions to im­prove the in­fra­struc­ture in which these gate­way sub­jects are taught so as to pro­vide a cre­ative space in which teach­ers and pupils’ in­ter­ac­tion with sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy can be ad­vanced.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions and fun­ders who want to con­trib­ute to this ex­cit­ing ini­tia­tive are en­cour­aged to make con­tact with the di­rec­tor of UWC-SLCA, Hart­ley on or call 021 959 2680.

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