News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday November 18th 2017

City school’s pupils get science skills boost

Bothasig High grade 11 pupil Shane Klaaste uses the distillation apparatus in the schools new lab to test the boiling point of ethanol as prescribed in the grade 11 CAPS Syllabus. Photo. Peter Luhanga/WCN

Bothasig High grade 11 pupil Shane Klaaste uses the distillation apparatus in the schools new lab to test the boiling point of ethanol as prescribed in the grade 11 CAPS Syllabus. Photo. Peter Luhanga/WCN

The battle to teach pupils science has been alleviated at a Cape Town high school following a R500 000 donation for the construction of proper science and mathematics facilities.

The donation to Bosmansdam High near Du Noon by Chevron will assist the 820 pupils at the school to conduct science experiments in a properly kitted out laboratory.

Physical science teacher Magbel Loux said the new facility will help pupils “feel, see, touch and experience science first hand.”

Grade 11 pupil Shane Klaaste, who wants to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, said the new facilities will help him and fellow pupils conduct practical experiments and test theories “we have learnt in text books”.

“It will help us improve our marks from last year so we can get the marks required for ‘varsity,” said Klaaste.

School Principal Danie Human said the facility was like an early Christmas gift to the school.

Human said the lab will hopefully encourage more pupils to choose science subjects.

“Pupils will be able to conduct experiments they were not able to before,” said Human.

Pupils at the school originate from disadvantaged townships such Du Noon and Joe Slovo Park in Milnerton, with some coming from the better-off suburbs of Bothasig and Edgemead, said Human.

Speaking at the opening of the centre on Monday, education MEC Debbie Schäfer said the growth of South Africa’s economy was “hugely dependent” on education the development of scarce skills.

“Eleven of the top 20 scarcest skills identified in the National Scarce Skills List are engineering-related. In order to improve the availability of these skills, we need to attract new talent. How better to do so than to invest in maths and science resources, providing an exciting learning environment for high school learners?” said Schäfer.

Chevron South Africa Manager for Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Donna Fata, said the refinery invested considerably to advance education outcomes in disadvantaged communities as part of a strategy aligned with the needs of the communities and the priorities of the state.

Chevron funded the construction and resourcing of the centre to specifications of a proven design by the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Science Learning Centre for Africa (SLCA). — Peter Luhanga

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