“We need more trained ambassadors and additional activities to share with teachers.” That’s how Thomas Mbise, a board member of the Centre for Science Education and Observatory summed up the February 6th gathering of almost 70 educators in Usa River, Tanzania. (see attached photo) Mbise had given a presentation on the history of the Centre during the inception meeting.
The event brought together teachers, school heads, District Education officers from the Ministry of Education, and other leaders in a day-long event where they learned about the Astro-Science Ambassadors Outreach for Science Education program.
The participants were welcomed by Prof. Hodian Urio of Mt Meru University and chair of the Centre Board. He talked about science education in Tanzania and emphasized the need for improving the situation by volunteering our time for the betterment of future generations. He pointed out the importance of the outreach program and how its success depends on the willingness of the participants to engage in the work.
Joeline Ezekiel, one of two UNAWE-Tanzania/Telescopes to Tanzania representatives making presentations shared the expected outcomes of the program. These include: a goal of reaching 48 teachers from 24 school and approximately 1000 students; engaging two government officials; and the development of ten astro-science activities. The proposed implementation plan, anticipated project timeline, and project achievement indicators were included in the presentation.
Albert Kisongola, also representing UNAWE-Tanzania/Telescopes to Tanzania, gave a presentation on how the project is going to be monitored and evaluated. He pointed out the tools for evaluation, which include registration forms, report forms, questionnaires, and other testimony in the form of writings, pictures and films.
Following the event Kisongola wrote, “I saw a new way of improving science teaching in our schools. I saw the District Education Officers express their desire for the project to grow into a national program to benefit all teachers and students in Tanzania. I saw teachers who enjoyed and expressed interest in our presentations, and I saw them ready to engage into this serious task. We all saw them asking lot of questions about the project and we were there to respond.”
Dr. Charles Mahela, deputy chancellor from the African Institute for Mathematical Science (AIMS) shared the work of AIMS. He pledged to strengthen the collaboration between stakeholders represented at the gathering and talked about the opportunities offered by AIMS to science teachers.
During a question and answer period both Ministry of Education representatives promised full support to the project.
The Science Ambassador program was established by the Centre in June of last year following a training event led by UNAWE – Tanzania and Telescopes to Tanzania trainers. The goal of the initial group of more than a dozen ambassador-
educators is to help teachers in secondary schools in the region to have more hands-on, inquiry based models for science and math classrooms. The models are designed to meet the requirements outlined in the government mandated curriculum.
This initial phase of training and outreach in 2015 is supported by funds raised last year in a successful crowd sourcing campaign along with a grant from the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development.
Today, these leaders in Tanzania have a strong vision and ambitious plans for growing the work of the Centre and they invite you to contribute to supporting the current campaign on the new Fiat Physica site: http://www.fiatphysica.com/campaigns/telescopes-to-tanzania/
Or visit the Telescopes to Tanzania webpage at: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/awb-programs/resource-sharing-programs/telescopes-to-tanzania.html after March 8 to contribute via PayPal.
Participant Photo: Almost 70 educations attended a day-long event on February 6th to learn about the Astro-Science Ambassadors Outreach for Science Education program in Usa River, Tanzania.