Mobile science lab project paying off for SA’s pupils

The Science 2Go campaign is hoping to bring practical science experiments to Bay schools soon following their recent roadshow, enjoyed by Douglas Mbopa High School pupil Kilani Junior, 13, Mahle Communications manager Jolene van Heerden, Javu Lusanda, 13, and CASME’s Henre Benson
Picture: Tremaine van Aardt

A mobile science lab rolled into Nelson Mandela Bay yesterday on a mission to reignite a passion for maths and science in impoverished schools through practical application of the usually mundane theory.

A dire need for engineers saw Mahle South Africa partner with the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME) three years ago to establish the Science2Go campaign.

And in the last two days the science lab has visited six schools to raise awareness and garner support for the campaign.

The visit could give two pupils the opportunity to study at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Stuttgart, Germany.

The idea is to take science to the pupils in way they can touch and see it in action through practical experiments instead of just reading about theory in their books.

Speaking at Douglas Mbopa High School, Science2Go chief operations officer Henre Benson said the campaign had already reached more than 15 000 pupils across KwaZulu-Natal and would soon be active in the Bay.

“We will handle all the practical experiments in the curriculum. Children tend to learn when they can see what is being taught,” he said.

“This skills development has already improved the science mark in our [30] KwaZulu-Natal schools by 43%.

“So initially we do the experiments but we also train the teachers to make it sustainable once our services are needed elsewhere.”

He said this week was a roadshow to introduce the concept to the schools. Should a sponsor assist in buying and equipping another vehicle, the mobile lab will be operational in the city within three months.

“Once we are operational we will visit the identified schools anywhere between once a week or once a month, depending on the availability and the requirements of the school.”

Douglas Mbopa deputy principal Konya Nomazulu said the campaign was phenomenal. “We will definitely be on board with this.”

Mahle communications manager Jolene van Heerden said the organisation’s corporate social investment programme focused on addressing problems with maths and science at schools. “We wanted to make a difference.”

She said Mahle funded university studies for several pupils.

“Two of the most exceptional pupils are given an opportunity to study engineering at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Stuttgart, which is an R800 000 bursary spread over four years.”

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