by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – MANY of South Africa’s rural students are lagging behind their counterparts in the urban areas in terms of access to modern technologies and innovations that are transforming the education sector.
This subsequently puts them at a disadvantage in terms of performance in the science and technology subjects.
It is against the backdrop of these disparities that a rural school in the North West Province has benefitted from a mobile science and information technology (IT) laboratory.
The donation by Premier Portland Cement (PPC) to Mochudi Secondary School follows the realization closing the gap requires involvement by all key stakeholders, especially corporates.
The initiative is part of PPC’s science educational programme.
It is expected that PPC’s donation of the lab would help the school with the improvement of science teaching and learning, and consequently improve pass rates.
“Pupils want to use technology and prepare themselves for the digital world,” said Mafoko Jaabosigo, Principal at Mochudi.
He appreciated the initiative as it addressed one of the pressing needs in the community, particularly practical exposure to science and technology.
“The resources will greatly enhance the learners’ comprehension of science as a subject. Lessons will become more interesting and practical as teachers will use the lab to conduct practical scientific experiments,” Jaabosigo said.
The laboratory empowers the teacher and pupils bringing educational content to life and creating experiences that were previously difficult to access.
The facility contains chemicals, equipment and other teaching aids, as well as a full IT system provided by Diebold Nixdorf, PPC’s partner in the project.
The IT system provides bespoke software that comes handy for science teachers and pupils.
It also boasts a full audio-visual capability, including surround sound for the screening of videos to enhance the learning experience.
“It is now common knowledge that high performance in maths and science are vital in producing individuals with the right skills to prosper in the evolving economy,” said Johan Claassen, PPC Chief Executive Officer.
“The mobile science lab thus supports government’s strategic initiative to improve outcomes in these key subjects,” Claassen said.
The cost of the lab could not be ascertained.
Last year, PPC gave a lab similar to a school in Hammanskraal, Gauteng where the pass rate in science is said to have more than doubled in the first year. It now stands at 83 percent.
“We have no doubt that, as the teachers develop new ways of using the labs more effectively, the sky will literally be the limit,” Claassen added.