Learn by doing ! France and SA cooperate on science education
On Monday 26 November, the Embassy of France and the South African Academy of Science were pleased to launch the programme “La Main à la Pâte” / “Learning by Doing” in Pretoria. This programme is an innovative and fun inquiry-based teaching method and aims at renewing and expanding science teaching in school. It was founded in France 1996 by Georges Charpak, Physics Nobel Prize winner, Pierre Léna, Yves Quéré, and the French Academy of Sciences with the support of the French Ministry of Education. The international action of la main à la pâte has been an integral part of the program from the very beginning, which is now implemented in more than 50 countries all around the world.
Twenty South African professionals involved in teacher training are following a training session at ASSAf this week as part of a two-year pilot phases in selected school in Gauteng, after which the program is intended to be generalized to the whole country.
At the launch, Ambassador Lapouge stated that : “Our scientific collaboration has traditionally had two legs which I consider of equal importance. The first leg is research and technology development at the highest level. […] The other leg of this bilateral relationship is public outreach and scientific education.
He explained that “La Main à la Pâte” / “Learning by Doing” is part of this scientific public outreach, which has been one of the main focuses of the French Season in South Africa. Alongside, an exhibition on renewable energies was presented at the Necsa Vistors Centre (Pelindaba) and KZN Sciencentre (Durban) and was visited by 8 000 visitors from June to August. Two ambition exhibitions, “Reacting to chemistry” at the Sci-Bono (link) and “Prehistory : the investigation” at the Origins Centre of Wits University (Johannesburg) are currently presented from mid-November and are being visited by thousands of pupils and students. Both of them are designed to yield a long tem impact on South African children curiosity.