Projects in Uganda - 2009

International education and teachers training projects in Uganda in 2009.

IOP/RSC Uganda Teachers Training Workshop
August 2009

An ambitious joint RSC/IOP training event took take place at Bukinda, Kabale, in SW Uganda from 17-21 August, with cooperation between scientists from Uganda, Rwanda and England. This one week residential event was coordinated by RSC members Jean Johnson and Pat Johnson on their 10th and 4th visits, respectively, to Uganda. They worked with Byamugisha Alex, a young teacher from Bukinda who spent 3 months at St Dominic’s College, Harrow, funded by a RSC Developing World scholarship.

Thirty school chemistry teachers and 30 physicists from Uganda participated, with 2 Rwandan chemists, who attended to explore the relevance for their country. They joined sessions on good practice in teaching and learning in science and on health and safety and basic first aid in the laboratory. The chemists gained experience of simple, inexpensive ways to illustrate the theory sections of the O and A level chemistry syllabus studied in Uganda. Many teachers had little opportunity to do practical chemistry during their teacher training. Copying or dictation of notes on how to do practical work is commonplace. Equipments included plastic droppers, plastic wallets and Petri dishes to do simple reactions of aqueous ions and both preparations and tests for gases. Small scale techniques to follow reaction rates were also included, as will practice of titration techniques, needed for practical examinations compulsory even at O level. All teachers received a pack of equipment to enable them to carry out the experiments in their own school. They also gained practice in carrying out simple organic reactions, and use of molecular models to illustrate them. Each school received a box of Molymod models. The training was funded by PACN.

The physics course was taught by physicists from nearby Kigali, capital of Rwanda, and funded by IOP. This is following on from the work of the last years developing and putting in place a workshop to produce apparatus to help Physics teachers do practical work in their classroom. Francis Gatete, the local project manager, is a practicing Physics teacher and runs the training with the teachers. He broought and distributed apparatus made in Kigali to the teachers in Uganda.

The detailed planning took place at Bukinda, with Kigali physicists visiting to finalise the necessary arrangements. David Richardson, the IOP member who instigated and has overseen the Physics project since 2003, visited to help ensure the material suits the needs of the teachers in Uganda.

Following this course, the Bukinda team will run a course in Kigali, from 28-30 August, at the request of the Chief Inspector for Education, to help prepare teachers for the first ever chemistry practical examination at a level equivalent to A level.