Friday, 07 November 2008

CEMSTE project sparks interest in science at rural schools


The final phase of a CPUT outreach project was concluded on 16 October 2008 at the Cape Winelands District Education Office when learners from 15 rural schools across the Breederiver/Overberg region took part in a science and technology competition.

These learners represented science clubs and/or groups developed at each of the participating schools and demonstrated the skills that were practiced and developed under the auspices of the schools’ science teachers.

Learners showed their knowledge and understanding of curriculum-related experiments and practical work by conducting experiments on stage and exhibited their presentation skills by explaining their work at each step. The learners presented their work in an informative, entertaining and creative manner in an attempt show the adjudicators what they have learnt.

The project is an outreach initiative by the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (CEMSTE) at CPUT and was developed in partnership with the Cape Winelands Education District.

As Dr Shaheed Hartley, Director of CEMSTE explains, the project had three phases.

Phase 1 consisted of a workshop conducted by subject experts and was directed at providing skills, expertise and subject knowledge to the science and technology teachers of the participating schools.

During the second phase the teachers implemented the knowledge gained in the workshops and set up the schools’ science clubs with the assistance of the curriculum advisors and the CEMSTE team.

The final phase was the competition between the science clubs from the various schools. This provided an opportunity to measure the impact of the teacher workshop through outcomes achieved in learners’ activities and participation in the science clubs.

The competition was opened by Dr Brian Wilson, Chief Curriculum Advisor, who encouraged the learners to continue in science and mathematics and to grab all opportunities presented to them as important learning steps in life.

Edgar Johannes, Science Curriculum Advisor, applauded the teachers for their hard work in building the science clubs. The science and technology competition is divided into primary and secondary school divisions with six primary – Suurbraak, Skurweberg, Masakheke, Vergesig, H Venter, Rawsonville – and nine high schools – Ashton, Bella Vista, Emil Weder, Hawston, Langeberg, Masakheke Combined, Villiersdorp, Vusisizwe and Qhayiya – participating in 2008.

Dr Hartley pointed out that this year’s competition was especially difficult to adjudicate as the level and the quality of the experiments and presentations were exceptionally high.

To this end joint winners were announced in the secondary division, namely Ashton and Qhayiya, while Vergesig walked away with the laurels of the primary division for the second year running.

Dr Hartley thanks the participating learners, teachers and curriculum advisors for all their efforts as well as the sponsors who continue to make this project possible.

by the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

Photograph: The proud winners of the secondary school category in the science clubs challenge were (left) Qhayiya Secondary and (right) Ashton Secondary.

Written by CPUT News