NMMU provides further assistance for Northern Areas learners

JULY 12, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in ACTION programme, which runs in more than 40 schools throughout Nelson Mandela Bay, has extended its existing programme, with special holiday schools in Physical Science for Northern Areas learners.

STEM in ACTION provided extra practical science sessions for Grade 10 to 12 learners from Northern Areas schools at the beginning of the year to help learners make up for lost time: These schools were closed for almost a month, sparked by last year’s poor provincial and citywide matric results, and alleged mismanagement by the provincial Department of Education.

The programme organised an Autumn School in Physical Science during the April school holiday and is now running a Winter School in mid-year break.

During the April school holidays, some 95 Grade 12 learners from David Livingstone, Chapman, Gelvandale, Bertram and Hillside senior secondary schools attended five-hour sessions over four days at STEM in ACTION’s science labs on Missionvale Campus.

“The programme assisted them with the consolidation of the first-term syllabus content,” says STEM in ACTION Programme Manager Isabel van Gend. “This same group of learners will now attend a Winter School from 11 to 14 July which will consolidate second-term content and introduce third-term concepts. They will also be schooled in examination guidelines for writing Physical Science papers.”

The programme exposes learners to hands-on experiments and simulations often not done at schools due to a lack of resources.

During the Winter School, learners will also be able to explore career options.  

STEM in ACTION started seven years ago with 300 learners and now accommodates 2600 learners.

The programme demonstrates Physical Science experiments to the entire Physical Science class, including their teacher. “Each learner is involved in actually doing the science experiments. For many [in our programme], it is the first time they are doing a practical or even entering a lab,” said Van Gend. “The experiments help to explain the concepts they are battling with.”

Image: These learners, all from schools in the Northern Areas, will be attending a Physical Science holiday school at NMMU’s STEM in ACTION. The same group attended a holiday school in April.