Mahikeng, North West – On Thursday, the Sasol Foundation handed over a Mobile Science Laboratory to the North-West University that will deliver practical science education to thousands of learners around the Mahikeng area, in the North West. A state-of-the-art mobile laboratory, the unit is the 11th of its kind to be handed over by the Foundation, and is able to serve up to 30 schools per year, when fully utilised.
First introduced in 2014 as a partnership between the Sasol Foundation, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the South African Agency for Science and Technology, the first mobile science laboratory was handed over to institutions in Cofimvaba, in the Eastern Cape. Now in its sixth year, the Sasol Foundation’s Mobile Science Laboratory Programme has grown to comprise 12 mobile science laboratories across the country.
“Sasol is committed to continuing to play its part in the socio-economic development of South Africa, particularly in the communities in which we operate,” said Charlotte Mokoena, Sasol Executive Vice President: Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. “An example of one of our channels to reach society is the Sasol Foundation. By focusing on education, we seek to contribute to South Africa’s development and economic progress by promoting STEM education.”
She said the impact of the mobile science laboratories, which is one of the many key initiatives by the Sasol Foundation, has been positively evaluated by an independent monitoring and evaluation agency in 2019, which confirmed that innovation is a critical piece of the puzzle in addressing the underdevelopment of STEM capabilities in South Africa.
“To date, our partnership model has been working smoothly, with schools served by the facilities reporting significant improvement in the performance of learners in science-related subjects,” she said. “We have seen encouraging outcomes already in terms of science results and competence of learners across our target areas and, more importantly, are seeing a growing interest in the sciences in general, as learners are excited when their minds are exposed to science in action for the first time.”
What is a Mobile Science Lab?
A mobile science lab is a custom-designed and well-equipped vehicle that is used to transport science apparatus and chemicals to schools in various parts of the country in order to conduct hands-on practical work with teachers and learners in their classrooms.
The innovative solution forms part of the Sasol Foundation’s broader mandate of reforming and improving STEM education in South Africa.
The facility targets schools which lack the necessary apparatus for science, particularly in the underprivileged parts of the country. As the name denotes, these vehicles travel daily to schools where science experiments are performed with learners and teachers in their classrooms.
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