In 2013 CASME partnered with Mahle Behr South Africa to support two groups of learners from schools in the fenceline communities of the company’s operations in South Africa. Through the initiative 80 learners from Sithengile Secondary in Cleremont and Douglas Mbopa High School in Motherwell near Port Elizabeth have received weekly extra tuition in Mathematics and Physical Sciences. One of the biggest challenges to inspiring interest and enthusiasm in science is the absence of functional school laboratories. According to recent reports by the Department of Basic Education the proportion of schools with a stocked laboratory is only 5%. CASME’s portable laboratory kits provide a way to bring practical, hands on science learning and teaching into schools at relatively low cost. CASME operates four mathematics and science teachers’ resource centres in partnership with the KZN Department of Education and local Science Centres. These centres serve local school communities and reach some 200 schools providing mathematics and science kits and resources on a loan basis.
Whilst the resource centres have achieved some success at bridging the gaps in science teaching and learning, in many cases equipment is not utilised effectively. One of the reasons for this is that teachers lack the necessary experience, skills and confidence to use the equipment either in demonstration or in hands-on activities with learners. Many schools also lack the capacity and experience to ensure the maintenance of equipment.
Recognising the difficulties faced by science teachers as well as the opportunity to reach far more learners, Mahle Behr South Africa began exploring, with CASME, ways in which to move the resource centre concept closer to schools. And so the Mahle Behr Science2Go Mobile Resource Centre initiative was born. Following a year of planning and development the Science2Go initiative hit the road in February 2015 taking hands-on science into the classrooms of over 15,000 primary and high school learners in KwaDabeka, Molweni and Cleremont.