Wonders of science

Seeing the reaction of acids being mixed with bases or making an electric cell by placing zinc and copper plates in a solution of laboratory chemicals is something unthinkable for many learners.

This is because their schools do not have the money to invest in science centres.

But as from Tuesday 4 September, the learners and science teachers of Windermere Primary School in Kensington have a centre in which to experience the wonders of science.

These were the words of the University of the Western Cape’s registrar, Nita Lawton-Misra, at the official opening of a science laboratory at the school last week.

“I hope you enjoy it and who knows, maybe the next Einstein will emerge from here,” Lawton-Misra told the school’s teachers and other education officials.

Windermere is one of nine schools that are benefiting from an initiative of the University of the Western Cape’s Science Learning Centre for Africa (UWC-SLCA), aimed at improving the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in disadvantaged schools.

The other eight schools are Bridgeville Primary School in Bridgetown, Portia Primary School in Lansdowne, Pelican Park Secondary School, Nomzamo Secondary School in Somerset West, Elsies River Secondary School, PW de Bruin Primary School in Lamberts Bay, Clanwilliam Secondary School and Vredendal Secondary School in Vredendal.

Three laboratories were officially opened on Monday 3 September, another three the following day, and the remaining three will be opened on Wednesday 19 September.

According to a statement from the project, UWC-SLCA has teamed up with corporate organisations to “provide a creative space to support the teaching and learning of science and technology at schools”.

“UWC-SLCA in an equal partnership with Garden Cities-Archway Foundation and the Western Cape Education Department continued with a process to improve the infrastructure in which these gateway subjects are taught – that is reconstructing science laboratories into UWC Science Learning Centres (SLCs),” the statement reads.

The nine schools bring the total SLCs constructed at Western Cape schools since 2011 to 66.

Director of UWC-SCLA, Professor Shaheed Hartley, was among the dignitaries at the launch. He was lauded for “passionately championing” the project.

Speaking to educators, Hartley encouraged the introduction of science and mathematics to learners at an early age.

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