The Science Learning Centre for Africa of University of the Western Cape (UWC-SLCA) has won a number of awards for its far-reaching support programmes to improve the teaching and learning of science and mathematics.
In order to facilitate this process it has teamed up with corporate organisations to improve the infrastructure in which these gateway subjects are taught so as to provide a creative space in which teachers’ and learners’ interaction with science and technology can be advanced. In 2011 UWC-SLCA in partnership with Garden Cities Archway Foundation started the construction of science laboratories called UWC Science Learning Centres (SLCs) at Western Cape schools. In 2016 the Western Cape Education Department joined the partnership and contributes one-third of the costs associated with the SLCs. On Tuesday 31 January 2017, the Rector of the University of the Western Cape, Prof Tyrone Pretorius, CEO of Garden Cities Archway Foundation, John Matthews and principals of the respective schools will open four new UWC Science Learning Centres at schools in the Eden & Central Karoo Education District of the Western Cape, namely
- Murray High School, Plettenberg Bay
- Percy Mdala High School, Knysna
- Tyholora Primary School, George
- Garden Route Primary School, Mossel Bay
These four schools will bring the total to fourty (40) SLCs constructed with a further eight to be opened soon. The construction of the science learning centres is an extension of the curriculum support provided by UWC-SLCA and serve as reward for committed science teachers, school management 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. According to Prof Hartley “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 teaching 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 NSC and other assessments. Certainly having a confident and knowledgeable science teacher in a conducive environment provided by the UWC Science Learning Centres is a step in the right direction.”
Organisations and funders that want to contribute to this exciting initiative are encouraged to make contact with the Director of UWC-SLCA, Prof Shaheed Hartley.