Students participating in one of the science labs conducted by USP's FSTE staff.
Staff members of The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) recently conducted science labs and study clinics in 14 high schools in Fiji’s Western Division which were severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston.
These high schools were left without their science facilities due to the severe damage that Winston left in its wake. In particular, a number of schools lost vital pieces of equipment needed to conduct the scientific experiments outlined in the curricula.
The FSTE team facilitated experiments in a wide range of topics including cell biology, photosynthesis, pendulum motion, and conservation laws, and one activity involved locating the epicentre of an earthquake using seismic data.
FSTE Associate Dean, Dr Bibhya Sharma said that while students have been provided with classrooms, stationery, uniforms and meals, there was a dire need to support schools in conducting essential practical work in Science subjects.
“We decided to take selected labs to the doorsteps of 14 high schools in the west so that the science students in Year 12 and Year 13 could complete important practical components of their science subjects,” Dr Sharma said.
In addition, counselling services and study clinics in mathematics were dovetailed with the mobile labs.
Dr Sharma and his team thanked the Minster of Education, Honourable Dr Mahendra Reddy for his approval to take the mobile package to the high schools.
He also acknowledged the support received from USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra in taking this new initiative forward and also thanked Asco Motors for the school trips.
Following the success of this week’s relief efforts and requests from school principals, the Faculty plans to revisit the affected high schools.
The FSTE team is intending to take videos of lab experiments and show them to the students, which will help them sit for “Paper II” in their external examination.
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