Teachers Introduce science laboratory kit to enhance practical studies in secondary schools

Education
Teachers Introduce science laboratory kit to enhance practical studies in secondary schools
mini laboratory for schools

As part of the government's efforts to promote the teaching of science subjects in the new lower secondary curriculum, a group of science teachers has launched a "mini laboratory for schools", a science laboratory kit designed to facilitate practical studies in secondary schools.

This took place during a workshop organized by Science Teaching and Innovations Africa, aimed at enhancing the pedagogical skills of science teachers through training on Laboratory Instruction Manuals (LIM).

The workshop, held in Kampala on Saturday, was attended by teachers from various schools in the central region.

Recognizing the importance of prioritising science subjects, the government has increased the salaries of science teachers to four million, aiming to motivate them for effective instruction.

However, despite these efforts, students' performance in these subjects remains subpar.

According to the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), inadequate laboratory equipment in schools contributes to students' underperformance in science subjects. Some students and teachers encounter certain equipment for the first time during their final exams.

Biology, Chemistry, and Physics have long been compulsory subjects for lower-secondary students; however, they continue to present challenges despite various initiatives.

During the workshop focused on enhancing the practical teaching of science, Amon Rugira, Country Director of Science Teaching and Innovations Africa, emphasized the importance of utilizing laboratories and innovative teaching methods for science subjects.

"We have observed that although many schools have laboratories, they often remain unused by students. To address this, we have developed a 'laboratory instruction manual' to provide support to students. We assist teachers in managing laboratory sessions so that students are well-prepared before entering the lab," he stated.

Rugira highlighted that all the equipment in their kit is locally made, ensuring affordability and accessibility in all parts of the country.

He also acknowledged the lack of professional development opportunities for teachers as a significant challenge, emphasizing the importance of continuous professional growth.

Rugira expressed appreciation for the increasing role of artificial intelligence in Uganda's education sector

"We encourage teachers to innovate, and we provide support. The integration of ICT in all schools is crucial for enhancing the teaching of science subjects, and we are ready to assist teachers in this regard," he said.

Stuart Nabbasa, a biology and chemistry teacher from Science Teaching and Innovations Africa, explained that the newly launched laboratory kit will enable science teachers to adopt unique approaches to teaching these subjects.

"Teachers face challenges with the new curriculum, which includes new textbooks and materials. To address this, we have developed a competency-based science kit that includes materials not readily available in laboratories. These materials are essential for implementing the new curriculum," he noted.

Nabbasa emphasized the goal of empowering science teachers and promoting innovation.

Muniru Kabali, a physics and mathematics teacher from Mmanze Secondary School in Wakiso district explained why physics is one of the most challenging subjects in Uganda:

"Physics is a practical subject, but we tend to teach it in a theoretical manner," he said.

Having taught for the past twelve years, he expressed the difficulties of teaching physics due to its complexity.

Kabali urged the government to provide the laboratory kit, especially to teachers in rural schools where students cannot afford to contribute even a small amount for demonstrations.

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