Many underprivileged schools have no lab space or chemicals, however, the teachers are expected to present and assess a prescribed practical to their grades 10-12 learners. These practicals are an essential part of the learner’s assessment, so not having the infrastructure or resources to host these practicals pose a big problem to these teachers and subsequently to the learners. This leads to a decline in the number of learners in physical sciences and ineffective practical work due to lack of infrastructure and resources.
The department of Chemistry and Polymer Science aims to assist disadvantaged high schools with their prescribed chemistry practical’s by inviting students to do their experimental work in one of the university’s fully equipped laboratories, particularly at times when these are not utilized. The primary goals of this outreach program are three-fold:
- firstly, to provide much needed infrastructure support by offering students and their teachers the necessary laboratory environment to work in,
- secondly, to develop a deeper understanding of the conceptually challenging topics of their prescribed syllabus (SUNCOI Practicals with Purpose).
- thirdly, to collaborate with the education faculty through involvement of pre-service teacher education students in practical work with in-service teachers and their learners as well as post-grad chemistry students and chemistry lecturer/researchers (SUNCOI Teaching the Teacher the Nuts and Bolts of Chemistry).
Left to Right: Mrs Petronella Jonathan (teacher at Cloetesville High), Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus (Chemistry lecturer at Stellenbosch University and co-owner of SUNCOI), Mrs Petra Snijman (teacher at COSAT in Khayalitsha), Mr Aldridge Jacobs (teacher at Kylemore High) and Prof Klaus Koch (Head of Analytical Chemistry at Stellenbosch University and co-owner of SUNCOI).