First successful year for Mobile Laboratory
The Rössing Foundation’s first Mobile Laboratory completed its first, highly successful year, visiting 39 schools and resources centres in seven regions and surpassing the targeted number of learners and teachers to be reached by more than 150 per cent.
The main purpose of the introduction of the Mobile Laboratory is to cater for the schools that cannot easily access the Rössing Foundations Education Centres in Arandis, Ondangwa and Tamariskia due to long distances and related high transport costs involved in traveling to the Centres. As a result, teachers and learners in many rural schools miss out on the valuable opportunities offered by these programmes.
The Mobile Laboratory was initiated as a method to expand Rössing Foundation’s reach to outlying schools in support in English language training, Mathematics, and the Sciences. With sponsorship from Nedbank Namibia, a mobile unit was purchased and equipped with materials that support teaching and learning of these subjects.
The table below indicates the number of teachers and learners who were supported through the Mobile Laboratory activities.
The Rössing Foundation would like to thank our stakeholders who made our work with the Mobile Laboratory possible:
Rössing Uranium Limited Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture
Arandis Town Council
Erongo Development Foundation Peace Corps US
Social Security Commission Nedbank Namibia
Total Namibia Dunlop Tyre Services AON Insurance Hollard Life
Schools and the surrounding communities.
The Mobile Laboratory is equipped with necessary materials that help learners to conceptualise content central to their respective curricula through practical application in reallife situations. At the same time, where applicable, teachers were trained in classroom skills, subject content knowledge and materialdevelopment skills.
A team of between 7 and 9 Education officers from the Rössing Foundation assisted 39 schools and resources centres in 2016. Each school was supported twice in the year and the support lasted for four days.
The Rössing Foundation Education Officers teamed up with the Senior Education Officers of the Ministry of Education Art and Culture in the supported regions to render support in the teaching and learning of English, Mathematics and the Sciences.
During the first support visit to the regions, a regional launch of the Mobile Laboratory project was held at one of the visited schools and through that launch, the sponsors such as Nedbank Namibia, Total Namibia, AON Insurance and Hollard Life were introduced to communities, businesses and all beneficiaries.
Learners are learning how to:
- Engage learners with material and concepts through the process of inquiry;
- Enable learners to work as scientists and mathematicians, through experimentation and investigation;
- Provide learners with generic language skills needed to become great readers, writers, listeners and speakers of the English language;
- Provide a continuum of inquiry activities, from guided to openended tasks;
- Provide opportunities for problem solving;
- Develop skills, knowledge and positive attitude towards English, Mathematics and the Sciences; and
- Make the subjects’ content (English, Mathematics and Sciences) realistic and accessible to all learners.
The goal of the programme is to:
- Conduct observations;
- Record their observations, using both writing and drawing;
- Develop Mathematics and Science projects;
- Acquire skills in answering assessment tasks;
- Identify biasness in written material;
- Make inferences and draw conclusions on written materials;
- Distinguish between facts and opinions, fiction and non-fiction work;
- Plan, prepare and present lessons that help learners to acquire skills and master the required content of subject matter;
- Set, moderate and evaluate assessment tasks that are in conformity with the required competencies;
- Strengthen skills in material development;
- Address all the basic competencies in the curriculum of the targeted subjects; and
- Encourage learners to take subjects at higher levels.
Schools supported during 2016
The table below shows the schools that were supported in 2016 through the Mobile Laboratory activities.
Popularly known as the Mobile Laboratory or Mobile Lab in short, it is equipped with all science materials needed to deliver the curriculum from grade 5 to 12. There are three laptops loaded with soft versions of teaching and learning materials for English, Mathematics and the Sciences.
Other equipment such as a power generator, a fridge, equipment for setting up a makeshift outdoor laboratory, jerry cans for water and fuel are supplied to allow activities to take place even in remotest areas.
The Mobile Lab and all equipment are fully funded by Nedbank Namibia. Total Namibia finances fuel, Dunlop Tyres Services provides tyres, while Hollard Life and Aon insurance companies finance the insurance of the Mobile Lab.
The teachers for Junior Primary, English, Mathematics and Science were supported as follows:
- Team planning: the Education Officers and teachers of the respective subjects engaged in lesson planning and preparations; these lessons were delivered either by both teacher and the Education Officer or by one of them.
- Team teaching: when an Education Officer and a teacher planned a lesson together, they presented it to a class together.
- Model lessons: in cases where a teacher requested for a model lesson, the Education Officer planned it and presented it to class where the teacher was an observer; the teacher was always involved in the planning of the lesson and emphasis was put on the teacher to assimilate the model lesson to a different class group or a different lesson.
- Teacher professional development sessions: mini subject meetings/workshops were conducted mainly in the afternoons to equip teachers with the necessary pedagogical content knowledge and thereafter they discussed issues that support good classroom practices. Information communication technology integration in teaching formed central part of the activities.
- Material development: teachers and learners were trained to develop teaching and learning materials during lessons, afternoon study sessions and at the afternoon workshops.
The following modes of operations were used during learner support programmes:
- Face-to-face: the education officers conducted lessons on a facetoface basis. These lessons took place in classes and sometimes directly by using the Mobile Laboratory.
- Investigations and projects: learners are engaged in the application of concepts in real life situations were conducted; these activities allowed learners to learn through discovery approaches.
- Literacy and numerary development: learners are exposed to various reading and numerary material that aid them to improve language and mathematical skills.
- Scientific experiments (practicals and demonstrations): learners created their own knowledge through observation and inquiry.
CONTINUED SUPPORT FROM PARTNERS
Building upon the solid foundation established during the reporting year for the operation of the Mobile Laboratory, the Rössing Foundation and its partners are looking forward to continuing this valuable service to learners and teachers located in communities far away from the Foundation’s three Education Centres.
Nedbank Namibia continues to contribute to the annual registration of the Mobile Laboratory, as well as fully participating in the launch of the education support programmes to different regions.
Holland Life, a firm believer in the value of sustainable projects aimed at bettering the lives of all Namibian people, has not only committed to continue with the insurance coverage of the Mobile Lab, but also donated N$70,000 to support the Mobile Lab’s activities in the coming year. Says Henriette Crouse, Brand and Marketing Manager of Hollard Life: "It is through initiatives like these that the most impact can be made to communities and the children of those communities, through insightful and innovative ideas that we ensure sustainability and positive change. Hollard will continue to work towards making an impact in the lives of the people who need it the most, that is after all, the Hollard way."
Dunlop Namibia continues their support by providing tyres to the Mobile Lab and Total Namibia donated N$44,000 towards its fuel costs.
The Rössing Foundation is ever grateful to its partners, as continuing with the Mobile Lab’s activities for the second year would not have been possible without such generous support.
(Above) Executive Director of the Rössing Foundation, Job Tjiho, and the Brand and Marketing Manager of Hollard, Henriette Crouse.
Hollard Life is one of the Foundation's valued partners.