Contact Us

Who we are

The Science Learning Centre for Africa (SLCA) is the community engagement extension of the School of Science and Mathematics Education (SSME), in the Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape.

The SLCA has made a significant impact on improving science education in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, through the construction of science laboratories in rural schools. To date, 84 such laboratories have been constructed.

The main focus of the SLCA is however to, with the assistance of our corporate partners, invest in the professional development of science, technology and mathematics teachers. The SLCA subscribes to a broader vision that the usual STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) grouping, and embraces a STEAME (Science-Technology-Arts-Mathematics-Entrepreneurship) approach. We focus on engaging pedagogies that would stimulate learners’ interest in science, such as cooperative learning, problem-based learning, puppetry, etc., and places emphasis on promoting self-directed learning.

Vision of the SLCA

In line with the UWC Institutional Operating Plan (2021 – 2025), the Science Learning Centre of Africa (SLCA) strives to be a Centre of Excellence, as the community engagement extension of the School of Science and Mathematics Education (SSME), engaging in STEM (science and mathematics) teacher professional development, learning programmes to popularise science amongst school learners, cutting-edge science education research, and productive relationships with funders (private and government sector) and research partners (notably national and international universities) in order to transform lives and empower communities.

Mission Statement of the SLCA

The SLCA is a research-led centre responsive to the needs of South Africa in terms of science and mathematics education, and strives for excellence in learning, teaching, research and community outreach.

Its focus on enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, should contribute to a more equitable and dynamic society. This is pursued through dedicated teaching, high academic standards and intellectual rigour, and productive partnerships.

Goals of the SLCA

The following six goals direct the activities of the SLCA:
  • Goal 1: Continuous professional development of Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) teachers
  • Goal 2: Infrastructure, resources and initiatives to enable effective STEM teaching and learning
  • Goal 3: Cutting-edge research
  • Goal 4: Financial viability and strategic partnerships
  • Goal 5: Public domain: Enhanced visibility and becoming a Centre of Excellence
  • Goal 6: Leadership, governance and staff empowerment
“The beginning and the end”, 1995, bronze sculpture by David Hlongwane at UWC
In an insightful article by Roger Williamson (The Conversation, 21 July 2015), the author discussed how UWC tackles the country’s societal and economic problems. He quoted UWC Vice-Chancellor Prof Tyrone Pretorius, who proclaimed the university’s commitment to “improve our neighbourhood’s capacity, accelerate economic development and bring university education in support of struggling communities”.

This is also the message echoed in the statue by artist David Hlongwane, that stands at the entrance of the UWC campus. It shows a domestic worker celebrating her son’s graduation.

UWC has communities such as Khayelitsha on its doorstep, and strives to uplift these communities. This is also encapsulated in the mission of the SLCA, to make a difference in local communities.