The Science Centre on the North-West University's (NWU's) Mahikeng Campus recently received its second state-of-the-art mobile science laboratory, courtesy of the Sasol Foundation.
The mobile lab, which is fitted with science equipment, will be shared by several disadvantaged schools around Mahikeng in a bid to strengthen the teaching of science.
“The Sasol Foundation views itself as a vehicle through which it can be a catalyst for change in our communities and society at large,” says Vusi Cwane, head of the Sasol Foundation.
“Our focus is on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and we aim to contribute to these fields by providing various support programmes aimed at alleviating school bottlenecks, boosting the vocational skills pool, and creating tertiary educational opportunities in South Africa.”
Vusi adds that the Mobile Science Laboratory programme forms an integral part of Sasol’s educational support, intending to bridge the gap between academic theory and real life for learners from disadvantaged schools.
Science Centre manager Lerato Molebatsi, who was instrumental in acquiring the mobile lab donation for the NWU, says the project is part of the university’s social outreach programme aimed at empowering disadvantaged schools in the university’s proximity.
She says through this project, the NWU aims to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning by helping schools that lack vital learning resources.
“Through these mobile labs, learners from schools that rely mostly on theory-based lessons for chemistry and physics get the opportunity to see us performing practical demonstrations,” says Lerato.
“These labs enable learners and teachers to see and touch science equipment, which help learners to understand the subjects better. The beautiful thing about the mobile labs is that they can travel from one school to another,” she says.
Neliswa Lefifi, a science teacher at Tetlano Senior Secondary School in Motlhabeng, Mahikeng which is one of the schools that benefits from the project, says the labs help to bring practical experience to learners.
“We do not have a laboratory at our school, so before these mobile labs visited us, our learners had never physically seen science kits. They had to visualise the experiments using the information in their textbooks,” says Neliswa.
“Not only did the labs help to improve our teaching, but by physically experiencing demonstrations, the labs also help learners to remember what they are taught,” she says.
Clement Manoko, executive director for Corporate Relations and Marketing, says the NWU prides itself on maintaining great and long-term bonds and collaborations with Sasol, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and other stakeholders.
“We are grateful to Sasol and the DSI for this generous gesture. As the NWU we will ensure that the mobile lab is put to sustainable use. We urge other organisations to assist in our fundraising initiatives. With their support, we can do more in helping disadvantaged learners.”
This is the second time the NWU has acquired a mobile lab through its fundraising initiatives. In 2017, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), formerly known as The Department of Science and Technology, in partnership with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), donated a mobile lab to NWU.
For more information on how your company can assist in our fundraising initiatives, please contact Celeste Rossouw at az.ca.uwn@94244031