Luyanda Mlambo who is one of the KZN Science Educators interacting with local school children
The KZN Science Centre has renewed its efforts to improve the quality of education for children in disadvantaged communities and up the performance of the province’s learners in critical disciplines such as science, mathematics, technology and engineering.
“The beginning of the school year is a critical time to begin supporting both learners and educators. It is unfair to complain about poor results at the end of a year if you have not put in a concerted effort to bolster pupils during the course of the year. We owe it to our children to provide them with the tools and knowledge needed to get an education that will enable them to break out of the cycle of poverty,” said Chief Executive Officer of The KZN Science Centre, Ms Candice Potgieter.
During 2015, the KZN Science Centre (KZNSC) is taking a holistic approach to addressing the educational challenges that face learners in disadvantaged areas on a daily basis.
“Our mission is to inculcate the importance of education in learners, educators and the general public using funded learning projects, curriculum based resources and interactive exhibitions. While our first port of call will always be conducting outreach programmes in under resourced schools, we are also looking at providing a more holistic package during 2015. This will address both the physical and psychological issues that impact on learners’ performances,” she said.
She pointed out that the KZNSC had already embarked on a number of key projects this year.
At the beginning of March, the organisation partnered with the Special Needs & Educational Support Directorate of the KZN Department of Education and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group to roll out a programme addressing depression and anxiety in schools.
Extending over a three day period, this programme set out to provide specialised training to assist in the identification and management of depression and anxiety in schools. It provided 60 department officials with the knowledge and toolkit needed to effectively identify, address and mitigate cases of depression and anxiety in the classroom. The course also covered the prevalence of depression and anxiety in schools, effective methods of identification and exposure and the effects of non or mistreatment.
“Children in disadvantaged areas are often under enormous pressure both at home and at school. Often one of the main areas where depression manifests is in poor academic performance. On the other hand, poor academic performance can also be a trigger for depression, especially during the critical last two years of school. The KZNSC is excited to play a part in casting some light on a serious issue that afflicts the educational growth and development of learners in schools across the province. We look forward to the continued partnership with the Special Needs Education Services Directorate,” Potgieter said.
As part of its mission to make science more accessible to under resourced schools, a KZNSC outreach team visited Inanda Comprehensive, one of the larger no-fee-paying high schools in the Inanda township during the first term of 2015.
The team spent a week conducting all of the recommended CAPS practical experiments with Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners. Each learner was given the opportunity to methodically work through a practical element associated with the work being carried out in the laboratory. As all topics covered by the outreach team are examinable in the final exams for each grade, this exposure played a valuable role in showcasing the tangible side of science and also helped to improve learners’ understanding of the content of the curriculum through practical methodology.
The Afrisun Community Development Trust Educational Outreach Programme began in February and will continue until May this year. The programme involves visits to disadvantaged and under resourced schools in the lower iLembe and upper Pinetown districts. This outreach programme includes educational workshops and activities together with science show demonstrations. The programme will reach 34 000 learners within just four months.
The KZNSC was also invited to exhibit at the Edu-Fair hosted by St Mary’s Primary School in Merebank on March 13.
The edu-fair is an annual event organised by the school for their pupils as well as those from surrounding schools. The aim is to merge education through exhibitors such as the KZNSC with career exposure through industry visitors and a fun fair to encourage members of the community to visit the event as well. The KZNSC played a dual role of exhibiting as a leading educational facility and creating science awareness through science show demonstrations and experiments.
The KZN Science Centre, a non-profit organization (NPO #064-359-NPO), offers a great variety of educational and event facilities for the promotion and awareness of science. Through a variety of exhibits, workshops, themed holiday programmes, events, presentations and conferences, the KZN Science Centre aims to encourage science education amongst all citizens and, in particular, the youth, in order for them to pursue science and technology related professions. As a registered NPO, all funds received by the KZN Science Centre directly support its educational programmes and exhibits. Those who wish to become part of the KZN Science Centre’s online community are encouraged to ‘like’ KZN ScienCentre on Facebook, follow @KZNScienCentre on Twitter or visit the KZN Science Centre website at www.kznsc.org . For further enquiries contact 031-8305379.
Issued on behalf of: The KZN Science Centre
Press release compiled and for more information contact: Nazley Giquel / Cell: 084 4143152 / Work: 031 830 5379