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The role of informal learning programmes in pursuing quality education

By Nozi Hambaze, Science Engagement Officer, SAEON Elwandle Node
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Ntsikelelo Charles, one of the learners in the SAEON Elwandle Node’s education programme, proudly displays his award for being the second top achiever in the Grahamstown district (Picture: Anele Mjekula, Grocotts Mail)

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Prof. Ken Ngcoza, Ms Kuhlane, SAEON’s Nozi Hambaze and Mr Kumbeyo at the SAARMSTE conference in Botswana.

Many researchers would probably agree that the declining number of young people interested in science can be blamed on a general lack of motivation.

Informal learning programmes outside the classroom, such as science camps, are increasingly seen as part of the solution to enhance learner motivation.

Engaging learners in these programmes seems to provide a conducive learning environment that inspires them to choose science as a subject and even as a career.

Nozi Hambaze, science engagement officer at the SAEON Elwandle Node, was invited to present a paper at the 26th Annual Conference of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (SAARMSTE) hosted by the University of Botswana in Gabarone from 16-19 January 2018. The theme of the conference was Pursuing sustainable and inclusive quality education through research informed practice in Mathematics, Science and Technology.

Based on her own experiences at the SAEON Elwandle Node, Nozi’s presentation focused on how participation in marine science camps influences learners’ perception of science. Nozi's presentation was well-received and sparked lively interaction.

Professor Ken Ngcoza, SAARMSTE president and a member of SAEON`s science education expert panel also gave a presentation together with some of the students he is supervising.

“We were privileged to be addressed by internationally renowned plenary speakers from universities such as Limerick in Ireland, York in the United Kingdom and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago,” says Nozi.

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