Science Teacher, Ms Faauli performs an experiment at the Chemistry lab at USP’s Laucala Campus.
Fifty nine high school science teachers of Samoa travelled to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus in Suva under the Science Teacher’s Accelerated Programme (STAP) boot camp to participate in laboratory work from 20 June to 2 July 2016.
STAP is a capacity building platform with the aim to upgrade the qualifications of teachers teaching science in secondary schools of the Pacific region. The programme was launched in June 2014 in Samoa as a partnership between USP, the Samoan Government and the cohort of science teachers.
Historically, science courses are not offered at the regional campuses due to the unavailability of specialised laboratory equipment required for the practical component. Practical work is integral to science courses; hence their deliveries are normally restricted to the Laucala Campus.
For STAP, either virtual or recorded labs were scheduled, or the facilitators travelled with essential equipment during their tutorial visits to the Alafua Campus in Samoa to conduct labs for some first and second year courses.
However, a number of second year and all third year labs could not be offered at the University’s Alafua Campus. This birthed an integral component of STAP which was the two-week boot camp at Laucala Campus, where more specialised laboratory work requiring large or expensive equipment was conducted.
A total of 16 Physics labs were completed by the students majoring in Physics and Mathematics. Six Biology and 12 Chemistry lab classes were completed by students with Biology and/or Chemistry majors.
The STAP student body president, Mr Lolesio Viane said that this was a first visit for many teachers in the cohort and they were grateful to the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) and the Samoan Government for the opportunity.
He added that the knowledge attained from STAP is not only to upgrade qualifications of teachers in the programme but also to help them deliver quality science education to secondary school students in Samoa.
The cohort will undertake their final courses in semester two after which the qualifying students will graduate during the Alafua Campus graduation this year.
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