By Bronwynne Esbach

Most of Sinenjongo high school's pupils have never seen the practical side of science, but they will soon be conducting experiments in the school's new fully equipped science laboratory.

The school, in Joe Slovo, near Milnerton, will unveil its R280 000 lab on July 16. The building has been sponsored by the Rabie Property group and the equipment by Old Mutual. The lab will be used for biology and physical science lessons.

Principal Madoda Mahlutshana said the lab would encourage more pupils to study science.

"Many of our Grade 12 pupils have never set foot inside a science lab in their 12-year schooling career. I know this will spur the interest of all pupils to study science," said Mahlutshana.

It would help the school to produce future engineers, doctors and other professionals who could in turn invest their skills in the community.

"There are so many careers you cannot consider if you don't have science or maths. It is about time we had professional role models in Joe Slovo.

"Our young people are struggling to picture dentists, doctors and engineers because they don't see the people in the community in those positions. I believe the lab will help to change this."

Matric pupil Thulani Matebese hopes to be one of these role models.

"I want to get good symbols in my exams at the end of the year, then I can study civil engineering. This is my last year and I am sad that the lab only came now. But I know it will benefit my younger brothers, who are also at the school."

Mbeko Bobotyana, another matric pupil, agreed the lab would make science more accessible for pupils.

"It is easy to understand something if you can see it, and I know more pupils will be interested now," said Mbeko.

Nkonzo Colani, chairperson of the school governing body, said it warmed his heart to know his children would have access to the new resource.

"Growing up, I never had these kinds of things. We were taught in a rural area in the Eastern Cape and even running water was a luxury. I am so happy that today children can have this facility.

"It also makes me proud to know that we have done this on our own. The principal is always networking for us, trying to make this school better."

Mahlutshana added that the lab was just one of the projects the school was working on in its effort to offer quality education.

"A school in this community should have the same facilities as a school in Table View or Milnerton. Parents in Joe Slovo want to send their children to the best schools, and soon they won't have to go out of the area.

"They will have confidence in Sinenjongo high, it will be a beacon in the community. The intention is to make our school equal to the former model C schools, and we are on our way.

"We want to get the best out of our pupils. We are providing the necessary resources, now the ball is in their court."