The new science center in Cofimvaba, in the Eastern Cape province, will support the teaching of mathematics, science and technology in local schools.
Additionally, it will serve as a teacher development center to better equip teachers in math and science, according to the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).
This week, DSI handed over to the community of Cofimvaba the high-tech and ultramodern science center, which bears the name of the pillar of the struggle Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu.
The Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu Science Center serves as an educational institution that offers science awareness activities and exhibits on various themes, including space science and astronomy, says DSI.
It will allow residents of Cofimvaba and surrounding towns to experiment and engage in science and technology, adds the department.
“The center will also be an integral part of the scientific communication infrastructure,” notes the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande. “The center will also provide opportunities for local communities to explore science and research in order to improve their lives by developing new knowledge and innovations, which can improve their livelihoods. “
According to Nzimande, ISD has organized indoor and outdoor science exhibitions to keep the science promotion program running smoothly.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Ministry of Education provided office furniture and equipment for the management of the Math, Science and Technology Teaching Support Program. The Ministry of Basic Education (DBE) provided 35 laptops to advance the goals of all of the centre’s programs, he reveals.
Supervised and built by the DSI entity, the Scientific and Industrial Research Center (CSIR), the center is designed and built as an environmentally friendly building.
It has an off-grid power supply made up of four renewable energy sources: photovoltaic panels, small-scale wind turbine, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. The energy of the Eskom electricity company will be used as a backup.
In addition, the building relies on a hybrid water supply to reduce its dependence on the network by collecting rainwater and recycling gray water for use in bathrooms.
Dr Phil Mjwara, Director General of DSI, explained that the center is the result of a collaboration between DSI, DBE, the Ministry of Education of the Eastern Cape, the Ministry of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform and the CSIR.
According to Mjwara, the department worked closely with the DBE to ensure that the center is relevant to overall education policy. “This partnership made it possible to design and build a science center that pursues three objectives.
“This includes making sure that young people in this rural area can benefit from what the center offers through exhibitions, and encouraging them to pursue careers in math and science. Second, the center becomes an institution that can also provide information and dispel mysteries about what science is all about, and hopefully it will have that outreach to the community around the region.
“The science center will benefit not only schools around Cofimvaba, but around the neighborhood. At first, we will be able to connect around 20 schools, but the vision is to expand so that schools that cannot physically come to the center benefit from today’s connectivity and computer technologies.
“Third, the center will provide a platform for teacher training in some districts and regions of the province. ”