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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Lecturer recruits township pupils to become scientists

PLOUGHING BACK TO COMMUNITIES:  Senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering Extended Curriculum Program, Dr Moses Basitere is committed to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in the communities. PLOUGHING BACK TO COMMUNITIES: Senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering Extended Curriculum Program, Dr Moses Basitere is committed to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in the communities.

Senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering Extended Curriculum Program, Dr Moses Basitere, together with Prof Fanelwa Ngece-Ajayi from the University of the Western Cape delivered over 200 copies of study guides in two schools in Khayelitsha.

The duo’s objective is to equip township pupils with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics skills through on-site training. They distributed the materials for Grade 11 and 12 learners at Joe Slovo Engineering High School and Luhlaza High School. Basitere, who is also a member of the South African Young Academy of Science, says one of their mandates as a working committee is “Feeding the pipeline and communicate the importance of science to our community”. 

His working group, “Feeding the pipeline”, mainly focuses on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in the communities. Their mandate this year was to conduct roadshows to promote STEM, Tutor mathematics, and Physics to high schools from previously disadvantaged background.

“However, due to Covid-19 [pandemic], we were unable to do roadshows, and a new strategy to seek a donation for study materials was developed after the request was done by the two schools. So delivering study materials and motivating the student during the current exams was the main priority for South African Young Academy of Science in partnership with AmaQhawe ngeMfundo and the University of the Western Cape,” Basitere reveals.

When he visited the leaners, Basitere encouraged them to have dreams and told them that they need to protect their dreams and cultivate them by working very hard.  Basitere also hinted that there might be obstacles on the way, but one must remain focused.  “If one doesn’t make it, you need to find the strength within you to rise and fight to protect your dream.”  He advised the learners that they must never allow the environment where they were born to dictate their future. Basitere urged them to remain focused on fulfilling their dreams.

Basitere explains that the Luhlaza High School had requested assistance with Mathematics and Physical Science so that they can have Saturday classes in Khayelitsha. Mainly it will be Grade 12 learners from Luhlaza High School, however, neighbouring schools will also be allowed to attend.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce