Mobile education laboratory

 

The Managing Director of Nedbank Namibia, Mr Lionel Matthews; the Chairperson of Rössing Uranium Board of Directors, Mr Johannes !Gawagab; Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa; the Chairperson of Rössing Foundation Board of Trustees, Mr Asser Kapere; Executive Director of Rössing Foundation, Mr Job Tjiho; and the Managing Director of Rössing Uranium, Mr Werner Duvenhage.

 

The Rössing Foundation team.

 

Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa and Mr Jona Mushelenga, Rössing Foundation's Science officer, with Science teaching equipment.

 

Managing Director of Nedbank Namibia, Mr Lionel Matthews.

 

The first of three Rössing Foundation mobile education laboratories.

 

A new educational concept launched

An educational concept that has previously delivered exceptional results in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund was replicated in mobile form and was launched towards the end of the reporting year.

The Rössing Foundation’s three centres are of principal benefit to teachers and learners living in close proximity of the towns where the centres are located, as transport costs and other related expenditures are often too high for people living some distance from these towns to access the sites. Thus, the majority of teachers and learners at rural schools in poor communities continue to miss out on the valuable opportunities offered by our centre-based support programmes.

In our quest to support as many learners and teachers as possible throughout Namibia, the Rössing Foundation explored the concept of a mobile laboratory offering the same services as the three centres. We approached a local bank, Nedbank Namibia, to assist in realising the concept and so the Rössing Foundation’s Mobile Education Laboratory was born.

Nedbank Namibia has committed to sponsoring three of these vehicles, fully equipped with the necessary instruments and materials to bring much- needed educational aid in the three critical subjects of Mathematics, Science and English to rural schools.

The first vehicle was launched in November 2015, and Nedbank will sponsor the other two vans over the next three years. Nedbank was joined by other progressive companies in getting the first mobile laboratory ‘on the road’: Total Namibia (which sponsors fuel), Dunlop Tyres (which sponsors tyres), and the Hollard and Aon insurance companies which sponsor the insurance coverage of the mobile laboratory.

The van is outfitted to deliver the subject curricula in English, Mathematics, and Science. Some of the equipment comprises apparatus for carrying out practical learning activities in the Sciences that might not be possible in their absence. There are also laptops equipped with software programs for English, Mathematics and Science. Some of the software is interactive and can be used to allow learners to progress at their own pace and teachers to design model teaching activities for their lessons.

The first mobile laboratory was launched by the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, the Honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, on the 25th November 2015 at the Rio Tinto Rössing Uranium Limited offices in Windhoek.

Speaking at the launch, the Managing Director of Nedbank, Lionel Matthews, stated that education is one of the three defining pillars underpinning Nedbank’s philosophy in terms of corporate social investment.

He said: “Education remains a prime ingredient in providing access to employment, economic prosperity, improved quality of life, personal fulfilment and growth for all Namibia’s people. That is an undeniable fact. And as a good corporate citizen, Nedbank Namibia will never shun our obligation in this regard. We have visions of the mobile lab being welcomed with joy and enthusiasm by communities in the furthest recesses of our country. But more importantly, we have visions of touching the lives of numerous teachers and learners alike, and inspiring them to embrace a future of untold interest in science and mathematics.”

The Honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa commended Nedbank and the Rössing Foundation saying: “With hard work and dedication the two partners have managed to implement an innovative approach to extending the enrichment benefits to rural schools through the practical presence of the Rössing Foundation Mobile Lab and we commend you for it.”

The first mobile lab will become operational in 2016. It will travel from one region to another and it is estimated that 20 schools will be visited twice over a period of 20 weeks by the end of the year. Thereafter, schools in the different regions will be able to reserve the mobile laboratory to support their learning activities at their institutions.

 

Namibia's Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, and Mr Asser Kapere, Rössing Foundation Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, at the Rössing Foundation Mobile Laboratory, which will be deployed to rural schools where tuition of Mathematics, Science and English is hampered by a lack of facilities.

 

 

 

 

Centre-based support programmes

 

English language support

The Ondangwa Centre supported a total of 114 learners in English language examination preparation activities in 2015. Of the 114 learners, 23 were Grade 10 learners; 72 Grade 12 NSSC (Ordinary Level) learners, and 19 Grade 12 Higher Level learners. Activities covered included work on tenses, the active and passive voice, direct and reported speech, summary writing, writing of short and longer pieces, and listening and oral activities.

In Erongo Region, a total of 25 English Ordinary Level learners were enrolled at the Tamariskia Centre and were supported in the following English skills in accordance with the syllabus: reading and directed writing, argumentative and narrative, report writing, literature notes and grammar and listening comprehension.

Learners were also assisted with the English language structures and conventions that are an integral component of the exploration, analysis and examination of texts, as well as of learners’ writing tasks, and with listening and oral proficiency.

 

Mathematics support

At the Ondangwa Centre, 697 Mathematics learners in Grade 7, Grade 10 and Grade 12 were supported through Master Maths Programme activities, of which 101 learners attended classes on a regular basis. The supported learners completed about 30 Master Maths modules (lessons) with an average score of 79 per cent.

In Erongo Region, a total of 3,977 Mathematics learners from Grade 5 to Grade 12 benefited and utilised the Master Maths Programme facilities in Arandis and Swakopmund, of which 104 attended classes on a regular basis.

Learners attended the centres from various schools in the region: Kolin Foundation Secondary School, U.B. Dax Primary School, Arandis Primary School, Mondesa Youth Opportunities (MYO) Trust afterschool programme, ProEd Academy Private School, Swakopmund Primary School, Coastal High School, and Swakopmund Secondary School.

Learners received tutoring and at the end of the year they wrote either Ordinary or Higher Level examinations. Face-to-face interactions covered topics such as calculus, algebra, geometry, trigonometric identities and graphs, vectors, and coordinate geometry, which also formed part of the Master Maths Programme tutoring.

 

Support in the sciences

Overall, 1,970 learners in Grade 6 to Grade 12 were supported through Science-related activities this year at the Ondangwa Centre, of which 190 Science learners registered and attended classes on a regular basis. The others participated on an irregular basis.

The learners were supported through regular face-to- face tutoring sessions, holiday classes, and enrichment programmes. An average score of 78 per cent was attained by the Grade 7, Grade 10, and Grade 12 Science Ordinary Level learners, while a grade 3 symbol average was attained by the Grade 12 Higher Level learners.

Overall, 625 Science learners from Swakopmund-based schools were tutored at the Tamariskia Centre in subjects such as Physical Science, Chemistry, Biology, and Life Sciences, with an emphasis on practical activities. Of these, 46 learners were registered and attended classes on a regular basis.

 

Outreach programmes

As part of their outreach programmes, the Tamariskia Centre supported 110 learners from the Omatjete Primary School near Omaruru, 156 learners from the S.I. Gobs Secondary School in Omaruru, 77 learners from the Petrus !Ganeb Secondary School in Uis and 98 learners from the Secondary School Otjimbingwe in the Usakos circuit.

The Ondangwa team supported 35 Grade 8 learners from the Omukukutu Combined School and 35 Grade 10 learners from the Okalumbu Combined School in their outreach programmes. The support covered topics identified through needs assessments of Grade 10 and 12 learners.

 

Holiday support programmes

At the Ondangwa Centre, 360 learners attended vacation classes, either during the May or August holidays. Special examination preparation support was given to Grade 10 Junior Secondary Level and Grade 12 Ordinary and Higher Level learners. The average assessment attainment for Higher Level learners was a grade 4 symbol, while the Ordinary Level learners attained an average score of 70 per cent.

In the Erongo Region, a total of 1,573 Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12 Higher Level learners from the Walvis Bay Education Circuit, Usakos Secondary School, Kuisebmond Secondary School, Petrus !Ganeb Secondary School, and S.I. Gobs Secondary School in Omaruru participated in the April and August 2015 Spring and Autumn Schools.

The holiday schools were organised by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in order to give learners an opportunity to revise subjects taught during the school year and cement learners’ competencies and understanding.

The Rössing Foundation made its staff available as additional resources in Mathematics, Sciences and English subjects

 

Support to the Erongo Region science fair

Through Science projects and fairs, learners access opportunities to apply technical knowledge and skills acquired during their studies and strengthen their understanding of scientific research methods. Practical scientific projects also reinforce teaching in both Mathematics and Science subjects.

The Rössing Foundation assisted the Swakopmund Circuit to organise and host a circuit-based Science Fair with ten teachers participating in the event. The Omaruru Circuit was also assisted in organising and hosting a circuit-based Science Fair with 14 teachers participating. In addition, a Science Fair judging workshop was conducted for 17 teachers to equip them with sufficient knowledge and skills in appraising projects.

The Ondangwa Centre team supported 120 Omusati learners in preparation for participation in the 2015 National Mathematics and Science Fair.