NWU Faculty of Natural Sciences reaches out to communities in North West

Christi Cloete -- Tue, 11/04/2014 - 08:16

NWU Faculty of Natural Sciences reaches out to communities in North West

In the past month the Faculty of Natural Sciences on the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University (NWU) lived out its “care” culture and reached out to the communities in North West.

The Matthews Mangope High School in Shupingstad near Zeerust received a huge gift in the form of a MyLab set that they can use to practically demonstrate chemical experiments to learners from grade 10 to 12. The school does not have any facilities with which they can perform scientific experiments.  

The MyLab set is worth about R6 600 and was sponsored by the dean’s office. The set is easy to use, durable and environmentally friendly and is small enough to carry around. The set also contains work cards and DVDs, which makes it easy to use for teachers. All experiments that can be performed fall within the school curriculum.

Ms Marie du Toit from the faculty also presented a free workshop on the Potchefstroom Campus to the teacher involved, Mr Motlhokodi,  to enable him to use the set effectively. The set will also contribute towards improving the pass rate of Science at the school.

Prof Kobus Pienaar, dean of the faculty, says disadvantaged schools are hereby enabled to do better in terms of their pass rate in the sciences. “It also influences the number of learners that can obtain admission to scientific studies at a university.”

• Students and staff from town and regional planning of the School of Geo and Spatial Sciences also undertook the massive task of planting 12 indigenous trees on an open space in Ikageng.
Around 150 people from the NWU, the private sector, non-profit organisations, officials from the Tlokwe Municipality and members from the community worked together to help turn this space into a park.
They helped to paint old car tyres, laid paving around the trees and helped to clean, upgrade and beautify the area. Students presented a short workshop for the community to design and place artworks in the public space. Children could also plant plants in pots that they could take home with them.

Ms Karen Puren, the project coordinator, says the main purpose of the project is to beautify public spaces with the help of the community and to make it “alive” for everyone. “The fact that the project is driven by the community has many other advantages such as the social and psychological changes within a community, while it is also a platform for teaching and learning as well as an opportunity to do research.”


Ms Marie du Toit hands over a MyLab set to the science teacher of Matthews Mangope High School in Shupingstad, Mr Motlhokodi.


Some of the people involved in the community project are (front) Mr Peter Sepati (Ikageng community), Ms Karen Puren (Senior Lector: town and regional planning and project coordinator), Ms Merna Meyer (Lector: creative art), Ms Bibi Bouwman (Institutional Director, community engagement), Prof Mariëtte Lowes (Vice-Rector: teaching-learning) and Ms Aletta Molutsi (Ikageng). At the back are Ms Patricia Keohitlhe (Ikageng), Mr Christiaan de Jager (town and regional planning), Prof Sarel Cilliers (botany), Mr Rudi van der Merwe (community engagement) and Mr Wessel Strydom (town and regional planning: masters candidate).