IOP for Africa takes a new direction

25 February 2015

The Institute is changing its approach to supporting physics education in Africa and is working to transfer the running of its existing teacher-training-focused projects to partner organisations in the countries concerned.

Africa

The transition will take place over 2015-16 but the IOP will still provide funding during 2015 using Institute funds and income received from donors and IOP members. The IOP will continue to fully support its coordinators during the transition and will provide whatever support it can to help the work that they have been doing to continue, including support in developing new partnerships and in seeking other sources of funding.

Over the last few years the IOP has established projects in nine sub-Saharan African countries to help to train people in using classroom experiments in their physics teaching. It has also provided experimental and IT equipment to schools, set up resource centres and in some places trained local craftsmen to build practical physics kit.

The change of direction has come about through the IOP’s development of its new international strategy for 2015-19. This provided an opportunity to review the progress and future ambitions of the IOP for Africa projects. Following the appointment of the IOP’s new head of international, Tajinder Panesor, a review was undertaken, which included consultation with a number of UK and overseas stakeholders and partners. Panesor said: “The overwhelming message was that the IOP should continue with its capacity building activities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, but should look to develop programmes that offer long-term sustainable solutions in partnership with both in-country and international STEM organisations.”

The IOP will continue to build on its support for physics in Africa by providing technical expertise and resources to colleagues in Africa who are working to build the science capital of their countries. It will also have direct involvement in physics in Africa through a new programme that will support innovation as a means of addressing important development issues. This will initially be a pilot project in one country (Tanzania) that can be used as a model to be taken to other sub-Saharan African countries.

Read more about the Institute’s future plans and the work that has been done through IOP for Africa.