The Ministry of Education in Uganda mandates that science, mathematics and computer science must be taught in secondary school, but private schools lack the funds to buy the tools they need to teach these classes. In many cases, the class lectures are simply didactic oral lessons. Especially for subjects like biology, chemistry and physics, students need ‘hands-on learning’ which can only be provided by laboratory sessions. More importantly, without labs, students will never have the experience they need to spark a love for science. The VWR Foundation is a corporate-outreach arm of The VWR Corporation, a Philadelphia-based science supply company. The Foundation lists Global Science Education as one of its mission goals. We have previously received two grants from The VWR Foundation for science teaching tools at high schools in Uganda. At the end of 2015, the Foundation awarded Quench and Connect a grant of $20,000 for science teaching! studentsWe are happy to report that we were able to use these funds to provide science teaching tools at three of our schools. Each of these schools has already received a borehole from us, and the students are now healthy and studying hard. Funds were wired directly to the three schools, and were used by the teachers to buy reagents, small laboratory equipment, textbooks and computers, as needed by each school. It should be noted that all these purchases were made in-country, from local shops. For a country like Uganda, where the average daily income still hovers around US$2.50 per day, this was a significant infusion into the local economy.
The three schools that received the science teaching awards are: Gulu College in the north, St. Jude Burora Secondary School in the west, and Heroes Secondary School in the south. Have a look at the pictures of some of these students with their new classroom science learning tools. In addition to enhancing the curriculum at these schools, the funds also prevented the closure of St. Jude Burora Secondary School, which was warned last year by the Ministry of Education that it would be closed for not providing science education. This extremely poor school had no funds to buy the chemicals and equipment for teaching science. But now, students who never dreamed of learning science are studying biology, chemistry, physics and computer science.
Many thanks to The VWR Foundation for the science teaching funds!