Cape schools benefit from new science labs through private-public partnership

The WCED in partnership with Advancing Knowledge NPC and the Archway Foundation launched nine new science labs at schools across the province. Picture: Armand Hough/ANA

The WCED in partnership with Advancing Knowledge NPC and the Archway Foundation launched nine new science labs at schools across the province. Picture: Armand Hough/ANA

Published Sep 20, 2023


Cape Town - Trafalgar High School opened its revamped Science Teaching and Learning Centre on Tuesday.

The new science laboratory was made possible through a partnership between Advancing Knowledge NPC, Garden Cities Archway Foundation, and the Western Cape Education Department.

At the opening were long-standing supporters and alumni of the school, including retired high court judge Siraj Desai and lawyer and Cape Heritage Museum curator Igshaan Higgins, who were joined by staff and learners.

Principal Salwa Southgate said the room had not been renovated in 40 years.

“I think it gives the learners an opportunity to renew their interest in and love for the sciences. Many children aren’t excited about science and maths any longer.

“They’ve got other interests, but now at least science is being promoted. It’s good for the country, good for the school, so we’re very happy and very grateful.”

Advancing Knowledge NPC director Professor Shaheed Hartley said the science lab would facilitate a more hands-on approach to learning.

Thanking the sponsors, Grade 11 learner Joanni Bakola said: “We believe that this gift of generosity to our school will inspire generations of learners to never lose faith in the inherent goodness of human nature and its ability to transform lives.”

The 111-year-old institution recently received national heritage status and is undergoing a multimillion-rand renovation project.

“Trafalgar has a very proud tradition. This school has produced some of the finest South Africans. Most of them were known in the fields of arts, literature, and politics – outstanding intellectuals. But the school was not lagging in science either,” Judge Desai said.

“This is a school for the previously disadvantaged who remain disadvantaged today, and it’s important that we develop a culture of learning where high quality, high-calibre scientists are produced.”

Education MEC David Maynier said nine Western Cape schools were fitted with new science laboratories through the partnership.

A new science laboratory was also opened at Fairmount High School, in Grassy Park, yesterday. The other schools were Diazville Primary and Secondary schools, Erica Primary School, Hermeslaan Primary School, Kraaifontein Secondary School, Louwville Secondary School and Schoonspruit Secondary School.

“The Science Laboratory Refurbishment Programme refurbishes physical science laboratories, and supplies science equipment and chemicals for the lab, and training for teachers. Teachers from the surrounding schools are also included in the training,” Maynier said.

He said R14 175 000 had been contributed to the project this year.

Garden Cities Group CEO John Matthews said: “The Science TLC project is one of the vehicles through which Garden Cities, as a non-profit corporation, invests in meeting South Africa’s future human resource needs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, particularly within a 4IR environment.”

Through the partnership, 103 schools have received science laboratories since 2011.

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