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“We also had to consider the demonstrated commitment of science educators, the principal and governing bodies to the advancement of science education at the school and the sustained interest in learner science activities such as involvement in science clubs and science competitions.”

He says the upward curve in learners’ achievement in science and mathematics and the school’s, community’s and learners’ needs in terms of disadvantage, race and rural-urban divide were also taken­ into consideration­.

The construction of the learning centres serves as a reward to committed science teachers and learners.

“The achievement of learners and teachers in national and international benchmark tests paints a very bleak picture and one that highlights a national crisis. 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 skills.

“Similarly we have to be creative in providing learners 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 several assessments.

“Having a confident and knowledgeable science teacher in a conducive environment provided by the UWC’s science learning centres is also a step in the right direction,” adds Hartley.

V For more on how you can contribute to the establishment of more science learning centres in the Western Cape, call Hartley on 021 959 2680.