Hilbright Science College launches a national campaign to improve science education in schools

Hilbright

14 June 2017

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Hilbright Science College Launches A National Campaign To Improve Science Education In Schools

Leading the pack in science education, Hilbright Science College has launched and organisation known as National Science Education Development Trust (NaSEDT) which is aimed at improving science education in the country through a number of initiatives. These include setting up Science Centres consisting of well-equipped physics, chemistry and biology laboratories in convenient places around urban schools where students from both private and government schools can come and do practicals after school and during weekends at nominal charges. One of the major factors contributing to poor grades in science subjects at A-level is lack of access to practicals by students during the course of their studies. In most schools students are only allowed access to lab practicals when they are in upper six with virtually no access when they are in lower six. And because of lack of practice, they perform poorly in the exams due poor psychomotor skills. The established Science Centres is intended to provide unlimited access to lab practicals by all students including O-level students.

 

National Science Education Development Trust (NaSEDT is sourcing lab equipment and chemicals from India through donations from well-wishers. Over 10 million dollars is needed to establish Science Centres in all urban schools which are proportionate to the number of schools available. Some lab equipment will be donated to deserving schools in the rural areas. The establishment of science centres is currently in progress in Chitungwiza, Mabvuku, Highfield, Warren Park and City Centre. Highly trained and experienced Hilbright Science College tutors will monitor and assist students with practicals in these centres.  In addition to conducting science practicals at the centres, student will be given an opportunity to carry out science projects to produce gargets and chemicals such as detergents which can be used in the community. This is in line with the new curriculum which puts great emphasis on psychomotor skills development.

The establishment of the Science Centres will also be used as a springboard to promote an increase in the enrolment of students taking science subjects at both O-and A-levels in secondary schools. Currently the average number of students doing science subjects in boarding schools is around 20 per class while those in day government schools is at 25 students per class. There is thus constricting bottle-neck whose effect is to drastically reduce the number of students taking up science-related programmes at universities. One effect of such bottle-neck system in education is to bar potential inventors, technocrats and solution providers from the means by which their potential could be realised. This is bad news for a developing country such Zimbabwe because it is a fact the economies can only grow if they are technologically driven. While there has been a marked increase in the number of universities and colleges offering science-related programmes in Zimbabwe since independence, there has not been deliberate, corresponding efforts by schools and government to promote the uptake of science subjects in secondary schools in order to feed into these universities and colleges. Eventually a huge deficit will be felt across the board.

 

National Science Education Development Trust (NaSEDT) intends to promote the uptake of science subjects at all levels by providing access to science facilities and equipment needed for the teaching and learning of science. Hilbright Science College, in partnership with National Science Education Development Trust is currently constructing a science-biased primary school in Harare. Emphasis on science subjects should begin at primary school level. It is here that a progressive scientist’s mind-set must be inculcated. Students must be taught at this level that real scientists are solution providers to national problems. They produce things. They invent machines to make life easier. They don’t just have prefixes to their names as doctor so and so, or professor so, while they have nothing to show for their PhDs. Unfortunately this the case with most of the current crop of Zimbabwean scientists and science-related professionals. Theoretical scientists. Bookish professionals who have remained in the book. They have done nothing. There is nothing tangible to show for their education. Meanwhile Zimbabwe remains an importer of even the most basics of tools, technologies and chemicals. This must change. We need new thinking, new mind-set. In order to promote this new thinking National Science Education Development Trust plans to host the first National High Schools Science Fare next year where students will have an opportunity to display gargets and other items which they will have made using their knowledge of science.

 

Among many other exciting initiatives, National Science Education Development Trust is also sourcing funds to provide scholarships to deserving students who intend to pursue science-related carriers up to higher institutions of learning. We will also donate science text books to deserving students and schools. Zimbabwe’s education is at the cross-roads. Let all true educationists in this country please stand up and be counted!

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