Institute of Physics Education Arrives in The Gambia
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Institute of Physics (IOP) is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all.
The institute comprised a membership of around forty thousand (40,000) physicists from all sectors in about hundred countries including Europe, U.S, Asia and Southern African.
IOP in collaboration with Jole Rider came to The Gambia to encourage students to embrace physics and support qualified physics teachers in sub-Saharan Africa, where lack of resources often rules out practical education.
IOP’s aim in Africa is to enhance teachers’ subject knowledge and give them the practical skills necessary to show students the myriad of applications that physics can have and the benefits physics education offers.
Development of physics programme in Africa started in 2005 and had donated equipment to schools in Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda and now in The Gambia.
Under the surveillance of department of Science and Technology at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, IOP/ Jole Rider organised a six day training for teachers in selected Upper Basic and Senior Secondary Schools in region two at the Sifoe Upper and Senior Secondary School.
IOP’s United Kingdom (UK) volunteer coordinator for The Gambia, Mr. Laurie Mansfield himself a physics teacher for thirty years, informed education-in depth that their mission in The Gambia is to abreast science teachers with practical skills for students to be doing in physics and how the experience can be done with local materials.
The six days teacher training draw teachers from Gunjur, Tujereng, Sifoe, St. Francis, Kitty, Darsilami Upper Basic Schools, Min Daw, Mahaad, Bottrop and Sifoe Senior Secondary Schools.
The IOP team would spend three weeks in the country apart from the training and professional development of physics teachers, the team will visit other regions like region five and six in a quest of improving physics education at all levels.
The team leader Mr. Laurie informed said though it is through Jole Rider that IOP came to The Gambia, MoBSE through the department of science and technology is fully aware of all their operations in the country and had welcomed their presence in the country and had visited the deputy permanent secretary and director of science and technology.
According to Saidu Gbla Jole Rider Learning and Development Project Manager in The Gambia outlined his organisation’s effort in advocating for equality education in The Gambia.
Mr. Gbla revealed to education in depth that his organisation in partnering with the Institute of Physics would develop Sifoe Senior Secondary School library into a modern learning center and install internet facilities to link the center to other members all around world. Gbla further said his organisation runs two projects in The Gambia- bike for Africa and learning development project. Mr. Gbla stressed that nothing is difficult or simple but due to stigma attributed to the sciences, makes physics the most difficult area.
The UK Jole Rider programme manager Mr. Steve Ateyeo highlighted the significance role his organisation play in fostering quality education in The Gambia using UK education as a yard stick.
According to Mr. Ateyeo, his organisation is to assist IOP to encourage teachers to use simple practical experience in their own classrooms to enhance the learning of the students.
He stressed that the practical experience in physics could also be in other science subjects to actually engage students in their work by transforming theory into practical.
During the training, teachers from both categories were engaged in various practical activities that can be performed by students within the classrooms using local materials that can be provided.
This would undoubtedly equip physics teachers in building eexperimental quipment vital to the self-sustainability of all IOP’s educational projects.
Readers should understand that this training is a pilot programme targeting upper and senior secondary schools.
However, when the programme is fully operational in schools, it would be implemented at universities in other countries.
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) was represented by Abdou Jammeh from the department of science and technology at the training.
Author: janneh s darboe