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Monday, 28 March 2022

Revision programme supports STEM vision

CREATING FUTURES: The programme brings together various department in the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences to assist matric learners. CREATING FUTURES: The programme brings together various department in the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences to assist matric learners.

Various departments in the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences have been working in unison to assist schools with a Life Sciences revision programme and plan to continue the good work this year.

The collaborating departments are Emergency Medical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Somatology, Medical Imaging and Therapeutic Sciences, Ophthalmic Sciences and Dental Technology as well as the Centre for Community Engagement and Work Integrated Learning, Service Learning division.

Dr Kareemah Najaar, senior lecturer in the Department of Emergency Medical Sciences, said many underprivileged matric Life Sciences learners have been further disadvantaged by the pandemic because they do not have access to Wi-Fi or smart phones, and thus online remote learning was not an option for them.

She said the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) remains a focus area for the economic growth of the country.

To support the STEM vision and provide socio-economic disadvantaged students with an opportunity to qualify and apply for science programmes at tertiary level, Najaar sought to expand the inter-departmental collaboration within the Faculty.

She said Dr Wendy Solomon (Biomedical Sciences) and Michael Paulse (Somatology) had been an integral part of this project since 2019.

“We realised that for this community engagement to be more effective within the current climate, inviting our sister departments to join could only amplify and accelerate the vision.”

In August last year Wynberg High School hosted the Grade 12 learners of Lavender Hill High School.”

Four major topics, selected by the teachers, Nabeelah Israel (Wynberg) and Monia Lewis (Lavender Hill) were revised. A maximum of 15 learners were placed with three tutors.

“A total of 121 learners attended the session with an astonishing number of faculty lecturers, postgraduates, and undergraduates available as tutors and facilitators. The tutors diligently provided a safe environment for the students and consequently the efficiency of the system put in place was remarkable to observe.”

The collaborating departments created an environment in which the participating matric learners were still able to physically attend a Life Science Revision programme while conforming to Covid-19 protocols.

“The Covid-19 ‘friendly’ classroom was designed into a classical horseshoe shape, with desks spaced adequately apart. The students were thus able to engage with the tutors who positioned themselves within the centre of the horseshoe while maintaining a safe social distance.”

Prior to entering the classroom, a register was taken, all participants’ temperatures were recorded, and their hands were sanitised. In addition, all desks were sanitised before each session as well as after, and the classrooms remained well ventilated. It was compulsory to wear a facial mask that covered both the mouth and nose at all times.

 “This model proves that it is possible to conduct revision programmes for those who do not have access to basic technology such as Wi-Fi and smart devices under Covid-19 conditions. We are excited to run our revision programmes with the 2022 matric students and we are most certainly prepared for the challenges that may have previously limited us, in the past,” said Najaar.

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za