The Mobile Science Laboratory was established in 2002, it is run as a Rhodes University Outreach project and is in its ninth year of operation. It is funded by donor and private sector.
Through a well stocked store room, knowledge base - in the form of well trained laboratory technicians and qualified teachers - as well as a means to transport equipment to various schools, the Mobile Science Lab makes running hands on practicals in all schools possible.
For its first five years of operation the Mobile Science Laboratory focused on reaching Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners in the 7 disadvantaged High Schools in the greater Grahamstown community. 2008 saw an exciting expansion of this highly successful project into Grades 8 and 9 and in 2009 Michelle Cocks, Tony Dold and Mluleki Nkosi joined the MSL team and introduced Inkcubeko nendalo - Bio-cultural Diversity Education Program (B-CDE) targetting Grade 10 learners and their teachers.
Project Co-ordinator Cheryl Craig, a qualified natural sciences teacher with over 25 years of experience, is running the project and along with her team provides hands-on practical experience for an average 1800 learners per year.
Prac in Action
We firmly believe that if we are attempting to ignite a renewed interest in the Sciences amongst our learners, and if we want the pass rate in a largely practical subject to improve, we have to provide every learner with the opportunity to do hands-on practical work. We have established the Mobile Science Laboratory as a practical, easily managed and cost effective way to address this great need. It is important to note that one set of equipment is servicing 13 schools.
There is no doubt that this is a model that works, it is efficient, cost effective and easy to duplicate. We firmly believe that the Department of Education should consider adopting this model so that all Natural Sciences learners in all Government schools get an opportunity to do hands-on experimental work. A direct benefit of this will be an improvement of deductive skills.