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 Infrastructure Development

Infrastructure development:

Construction of UWC Science Learning Centres (Laboratories) at rural and peri-urban schools​

This project involves providing the infrastructure for science teaching and learning to take place. This component is considered a reward for teachers who have stayed with the UWC-SLCA training and has demonstrated the confidence and a command of the science content, pedagogical strategies and practical and experimental skills. The provision of a science learning centre (science laboratory) to schools is considered essential to allow teachers to flourish in an environment that is conducive to effective teaching. Teachers on the programme earn a UWC science learning centre through their commitment and active participation in the UWC-SLCA programmes and projects where we want ensure that learners are the recipients of exemplary practice in science teaching.

Our experience has shown that it is at the primary level where extra support and effort needs to be ploughed in to ignite and maintain the enthusiasm and interest of learners. By linking the feeder primary with secondary in this project one ensures that the sustainability of learning programmes from primary to secondary is enhanced. This component of the UWC-SLCA science development project brings together partnerships with corporate funders. One major partner that has been involved since the inception of the project is Garden Cities Archway Foundation. This construction company has been providing their construction expertise and project management. The funding of the SLCs started on a 50-50 basis between Garden Cities Archway Foundation and the University of the Western Cape’s Science Learning Centre for Africa.  Other contributors to the project included Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Transnet Foundation and Chevron. In 2016 the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) joined the project and funding is now provided through this three-way partnership. This partnership allows for more schools to benefit in this project – with more corporate funding this project can be extended to many more primary and secondary schools in need of improving their science results.

The UWC-SLCA Director designed the laboratory, setting out of the workstations and the general layout of the laboratory with full recognition of the necessary safety and curriculum requirements and conversion of a dedicated classroom into a laboratory. In addition to the basic infrastructure (hard components), the “soft component” to the laboratory need to implemented in order to ensure maximum use of the infrastructure. UWC-SLCA designed a process that accommodates all the relevant needs of a modern day laboratory including teaching aids, equipment, apparatus and chemicals, software and training​

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