Very poor rural schools were chosen and they really appreciated what we had to offer. The principals of these schools also showed a keen interest. The SUNSTEP activities is one of the highlights at the Fort Hare University SUNSTEP Studio. The activities were exciting to both learners and teachers. The recommendation from Fort Hare University is that SUNSTEP should be marketed to other provinces that need help in Technology and Science electronics. Fort Hare University wants SUNSTEP to become very much involved with the Foundation Programme of Fort Hare University.
SUNSTEP Activities in conjunction with Fort Hare University (Forté)
SUNSTEP endeavors to make a difference in the Eastern Cape. Those who have changed history have one thing in common. They believed in the cause for which they were working. SUNSTEP wants to be a beacon of hope in the Eastern Cape. By applying science we want to serve a community and take on challenges and bring hope so that learners who never contemplated it, will be able to see themselves going in a Science Engineering and Technology direction after school. Science plays an important role in people’s daily lives and creating this awareness is important to us.
Fort Hare University works closely with their feeder schools in the Eastern Cape and Education Department officials. Together with the Education Department they organize the SUNSTEP workshops in Queenstown, Cradock, Middledrift, King Williamstown etc. and SUNSTEP then, with the financial assistance of Ausaid, does the training, and teaching in the designated areas.
Poverty, lack of resources and lack of educator ability due to their background are the biggest challenges experienced in schools in the Eastern Cape. Many schools have not yet had a SUNSTEP experience and would appreciate to be included for training workshops. The lack of knowledge cannot be eradicated in one year, it is an ongoing slow process and one has to press on and not lose hope, but keep on training and encouraging the educators.
Selecting a career path or field of study is challenging for young people. Insufficient career guidance at schools visited has left most learners feeling undecided especially because they are exposed to very limited career choices in the rural environment.
Many of the schools do not have access to the internet. It was also evident at most of the schools that learners are not on standard as far as the basics of Electronics is concerned. Many learners have expressed their dissatisfaction with not being able to do practical experiments due to the lack of resources in schools.
Learners from townships and rural schools still do not receive good teaching, which is a predicament in SA Education. The problems in the South African Education cannot simply be solved in a technical manner. It is much appreciated when the wider community also become involved in turning the situation around.
Forté / SUNSTEP Activities
The activities were mainly concentrated on the following:
- Preparatory learner workshops for exhibition programmes such as the National Science Week, Expo and the Science Exhibition Programme to help students design professional projects for competition etc.
- Learner and educator workshops to cover practical curriculum-related activities of Technology and Science.
- Tools hand over ceremony