High school learners in two Fochville schools, Gauteng, will soon see science in a whole new light – with the launch of the Merafong Community School mobile laboratory on 13 February 2019.
The initiative results from the close collaboration between the Mayor’s Office at the Merafong City Local Municipality and the leading explosives company BME, a member of the JSE-listed Omnia Group. The science laboratory will allow Grade 12 learners the Thuto Kitso and Imfundo secondary schools in Kokosi to conduct a range of scientific experiments that are part of the matric syllabus.
This exciting mobile facility has been specially designed inside the back of a long-haul truck, so that it can be moved quickly and easily to where it is needed. The air-conditioned space will accommodate about 15 learners at a time, with chairs and workbenches like in a classroom-type laboratory. Fitted with power connections, gas reticulation and a collection of scientific equipment and supplies, it promises to give learners a better understanding of science concepts through hands-on experimentation.
To ensure that the facility and equipment has a strong educational impact, BME has engaged with the science teachers at the two schools to advise on the Grade 12 sciences curricula so that the lab is equipped accordingly, and enables them as teachers to impart the requisite knowledge and guide learners to do various experiments.
“It is of course vital that proper supervision and teaching is provided in the lab, so that the facility has the impact that we all desire,” says BME’s Human Resources Executive Director, Dolphy Mathibe.
According to Mathibe, the company focuses its corporate social responsibility on education, and has built a relationship with the two schools over a number of years. In 2018, two top achievers from each school was awarded a bursary by BME to study at a South African university of their choice.
One registered to study mechanical engineering at the University of Johannesburg, while the other is studying chemical engineering at the Vaal University of Technology.
“Our business is built on technology and innovation, so it is only natural that we want to foster education – especially in the scientific disciplines – in the areas where we operate,” said Mathibe.
BME’s Managing Director, Joe Keenan, emphasised that the mobile laboratory was one of the ways the company was collaborating with the local community and municipality for mutual benefit. Keenan said it was important that strong relationships were built between all stakeholders, to ensure that the BME operation in Fochville continued to be sustainable and to contribute to the community in which it operated.