In a bold move to boost science education among township schools, the Garden Cities Archway Foundation in conjunction with the University of the Western Cape, handed over a state-of-the-art science laboratory at Vuyani Primary School in Gugulethu, on Thursday October 19.
The teachers praised the hand-over, saying the days of using classrooms for scientific experiments were over.
The R1 million lab will enable the pupils to put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice and see science in action.
The science learning centre also hopes to provide pupils with the best learning tools and resources with the objective of improving their maths and science academic performance.
Archway Foundation board member, Jannie Isaacs, said a quality education was rendered on the premises which were conducive for learning and teaching.
He made it clear that it was not a privilege to access quality education but a right for every child in the country.
Mr Isaacs believes it is important to invest in the development of young minds who are future innovators.
Sadly, he said the majority of schools from the historically disadvantaged areas had little or no resources to render quality education. He said the foundation wanted to contribute to the betterment of education by investing in schools. He said they were also building school halls and hoped to complete 100 halls in the province by the end of 2019.
“We also provide funding to students who are at institutions of higher learning. We should use these facilities to dismantle the myths associated with the subjects (maths and science),” he said. UWC deputy vice chancellor Jose Frantz, said South Africa was ranked second last out of 48 countries in terms of maths and science for Grade 4 while Grade 8s scored second last for maths and science out of 38 countries.
She added that Grade 9s scored the lowest for science among all the participating countries.
Ms Frantz added that the 2016 World Economic Forum Global Information Technology report ranked South Africa last in maths and science in quality of education. She said the shocking figures called for more interventions to address the imbalances of the past.
She said that inevitably the new jobs developing in the market such as data analytics and established careers like engineering required maths and science. Ms Frantz said the handover of the lab might be seen like a small thing, but it was an important step in normalising the education experience of the children and growing their potential.She said every child deserved to be afforded adequate resources so that they could become whatever they wanted in their life. Principal Mahlubi Ngqukuvana said while teachers were committed to actively raising the quality of learning and teaching, the lack of resources hindered their efforts. He said they were glad that the school had received the science lab after many years of struggle and hoped that this could assist them in improving the academic performance of their pupils on these two critical subjects. Mr Ngqukuvana said they hoped that the school could have a school hall and that would complete their needs. “We are on cloud nine about the lab. Our pupils won’t only learn the theoretical perspective of science but will also be able to physically conduct the experiments. The lab would also assist the pupils to understand the subject better,” he said.