Through its many outreach and awareness programmes, SAASTA aims to entice learners to pursue careers in science and to instil in people an enthusiasm and deeper understanding and appreciation of science in their daily lives. In line with these aims, SAASTA coordinates numerous projects that entail school science support through educator development programmes.
The educator workshops being held across the country are facilitated with the main objective of improving performance in Mathematics, Natural Science and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Life Orientation, and Technology.
As an emerging field that promises so much, nanotechnology awareness amongst educators and learners is very important to ultimately ensure tomorrow’s supply of scientists and innovators in this field. It is for this reason that SAASTA is coordinating a Nanotechnology Educator Workshops that target educators at both General Education and Training (GET) phase and Further Education and Training (FET) level with a main objective of introducing the technology to educators who in turn pass the lessons learned to their learners, and thus awareness of the nanoscience and nanotechnology. Since nanotechnology is a new subject, educators might struggle to integrate it into their lesson plans. Hence SAASTA has developed an educator and a learner manual as well as four posters, through Jive Media Africa, to be used to introduce nanotechnology at both primary and secondary schools. SAASTA is also in a process of developing other educator and learner manuals for grades 10 to 12, which are planned to be completed by the end of this financial year. Educators workshops will be run to assist the educators on how to use these resources (manuals and posters) and integrate the nanotechnology subject into their lesson plans.
As part of this project, SAASTA held a nanotechnology educator workshop in Klerksdorp at Meiringspark Primary School on 11-12 August 2014 which was facilitated by SAASTA’s appointed service provider and nanotechnology specialist, Professor Sabelo Mhlanga of the University of Johannesburg. The workshop was organised by SAASTA with assistance by Mr Fortunate Nchoe from the Department of Basic Education (DoBE)-North West. The workshop was a huge success as educators were trained according to the manual developed by SAASTA, in collaboration with Jive Media Africa, which specifically integrates the nanotechnology subject into their lesson plans. Other nanotechnology resources distributed during this workshop were the nanotechnology learner guides, nanotechnology-based game (grades 1 to 4), posters, notepads, pens and fact sheets. SAASTA together with DoBE and its appointed facilitators will further hold additional educator workshops in Central Cape Town (19-20 September) and Cape Winelands (26-27 September) where educators will be offered similar training in teaching and communicating the science behind nanotechnology.