UWC’s SLCA brings state-of-the-art science labs to Western Cape Schools
The achievement of learners and teachers in national and international benchmark tests paints a very bleak picture - and one that highlights a national crisis. To address this problem, on 2 August 2016, the University of the Western Cape’s Science Learning Centre for Africa (UWC-SLCA) and the Garden Cities Archway Foundation opened three brand new science learning centres at schools in the Western Cape, namely:
The science centres - equipped with smartboards, microscopes and more - are constructed to give support and training to practicing science educators, to get learners involved in science activities, and to allow learners and teachers to work and experiment in a safe environment.
“Developing a culture of science teaching and learning will be a good start to improving NSC and other assessments,” explained Professor Shaheed Hartley, Director of UWC-SLCA. “We have to start with the basics: supporting teachers to have the confidence to teach science with an advanced level of understanding, knowledge and teaching skills. And we have to be creative in providing learners with opportunities that will draw their interest and willingness to learn.”
The construction of the science learning centres is an extension of the curriculum support provided by UWC-SLCA, and serves as a reward for committed science teachers, learners and school management. The centres provide an ideal opportunity to keep up with and explore new technology, and could help address the shortage of maths and science skills in South Africa.
“South Africa is faced with many challenges,” noted Prof Tyrone Pretorius, UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, “and one of our main hopes of finding a solution is through science. With science, research and technology, it will better equip the youth to find solutions for bettering our country.”
“Science is needed at our schools more than ever,” added Forest Heights High School Principal, Ivan Kroneberg, “and we need more scientists to help our country progress. We thank Prof Hartley and UWC for helping us play our part in this.”
These three schools bring the total number of science learning centres constructed to 36 - and a further 12 labs are planned for 2016.