Turning "So near, yet so far" into "Close, and getting closer": the Thandokhulu Science Initiative (ThaScI)

11 May 2018 - 15:45

Thandokhulu High School: with the mountain and UCT in its sights....

An exciting initiative has recently been started up by Drs Barnett, Ngubane and Sunassee within the Chemistry Department, and supported by keen postgraduate students within the Science faculty.  Thandokhulu High School is just over the road from UCT's Forest Hill residence in Mowbray, at the doorstep of UCT.  It is an historically under-resourced school, and the Thandokhulu Science Initiative (ThaScI) aims to try and make the chances of university admission more attainable for the scholars there.

The Thandokhulu Science Initiative (ThaScI) provides extra help to learners at Thandokhulu High School (THS) in their Science Curricula.  Every Saturday morning Mr Slamang, the Grade 12 Life Sciences teacher at Thandokhulu, together with Science Faculty postgraduate students and staff volunteer to help the learners with hands-on activities related to their Science, Life Sciences and Physics curricula - including assistance with homework and assignments.  Initially, this outreach initiative is targetting learners from Grade 12, but the hope is that this will ultimately extend to younger classes to help improve their chances from the earlier grades.

The first session was held on Saturday 5 May.  Over 50 learners showed up, brimming with enthusiasm and curiosity as to what it takes to be a student at UCT, especially in the Science Faculty.  The call for tutors was well received by postgraduates in the faculty, who were happy to pitch in and lend a hand to tutor and assist the keen scholars.

In addition to the tutoring sessions our Health and Safety Officer Ms Monique Muller, together with PhD student Shakeela Sayed and Postdoc Malkeet Kumar, took time out to come and help take stock and organise the school's life sciences store.  This gave it a spruce up for the newly enthused learners - and possible future university scholars and scientists?


Thandokhulu High School students with UCT staff members Drs Sunassee, Ngubane and Barnett

The UCT team
Back: Dr Sunny Sunassee, Dr Siyabonga Ngubane, Mr Faizel Slamang (Life Sciences teacher at THS), Mpho Kganyago, Pargeant Ntshalintshali, Rebeng Maine, Athi Welsh, Shepherd Siangwata, Nadia Baartzes, Dr Chris Barnett

At front: Stephanie Achieng
On right, not in main picture: Tlakale Mogebisa

Athi Welsh and Nadia Baartzes with THS scholars

Mpho Kganyago and THS scholars

Rebeng Maine and THS scholars

Snack break with Dr Ngubane!