Thursday, January 17, 2008

UNESCO takes Mini-laboratories and Microscience to the Middle East

For a decade now, UNESCO has been introducing the methodology for microscience into the education systems of both developed and developing countries. One of UNESCO’s key partners in this endeavour is the RADMASTE Centre, Witwatersrand University, South Africa. Training workshops in microscience have been organized in some 84 countries and recently, UNESCO has turned its attention to the Middle East.

In collaboration with the Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO), UNESCO has introduced the microscience project into Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Syria. As project coordinator at UNESCO, Maria Liouliou took part in the first training workshops in Beirut and Ramallah, in November 2006 and February 2007.

The microscience methodology gives primary and secondary school pupils and university students alike an opportunity to conduct practical scientific experiments in physics, chemistry and biology using kits that come with a textbook. These kits are veritable mini-laboratories. They are perfectly safe, insofar as pupils never need to use more than a couple of drops of chemicals for each experiment. The kits are also affordable and far cheaper than conventional laboratory material. Each kit is compact, can be reused and is unbreakable because made of plastic. In addition, the small quantities of chemicals used make it environment-friendly.

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