science on track
A physical science laboratory to serve schools in Gauteng was launched this week.
The project, called the Gauteng South Centre and Laboratory, was launched in Observatory, Johannesburg, by the Technology Research Activity Centre of South Africa (Trac SA).
The fixed science laboratory is the first of it kind to be launched in Gauteng and built on the land where the Johannesburg Observatory stands.
Trac SA supplies Physical Science services to private and public high school pupils and teachers by providing fixed science centres and mobile laboratory units.
The organisation was founded in 1994 by Professor Fred Hugo, who adapted it from the US version, Transportation Research Activity Centre.
Trac SA is a non-profit organisation with the objective of enabling and encouraging South African school leavers to enter careers in science, engineering and technology.
Beverley Damonse, director of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement, said: "It is great to know that this project is in the same place where the first astronomy experiments in the country took place."
Damonse said that the centre would benefit about 300 schools that are within a 100km radius.
Hugo said schools were free to make an appointment with the centre to enable pupils and teachers to undergo training.
"We hope that the centre brings in a new era and helps in bridging a major gap in the school system and produces skilled people."
Gauteng education MEC Angie Motshekga said: "We are happy that the centre has been built in the hub of Johannesburg.
"It will have great spin-offs and lead to career growth."
In three sessions, pupils can do experiments for the year's curriculum. The fixed centre caters for pupils from Grade 10 to 12 and covers about 40 curriculum-based science experiments.
The labs are equipped with computers and the apparatus required for the experiments.
There are six TRAC centres, nine mobile laboratories, 10 satellite laboratories and four school laboratories in South Africa.
To watch a video of the labs please visit www.sowetan.co.za.