The Division of Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology (CABA) hosted two very successful outreach initiatives with schools in Cape Town during the month of April.
The first outreach co-ordinated by Science educator Mr Randall Christians and lead by Prof Delva Shamley, was held on the 26th of April 2023 at Disa Primary School, a no-fee public school in Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats. The aim of the initiative was to expose grade 7 learners to Anatomical Sciences in the hope that it would spark an interest, leading some to cultivate a love for Human Biology. Seventy grade 7 learners were exposed to anatomical models, with UCT staff and students giving talks regarding the major parts of the human body. Learners also got an opportunity view histological slides through a microscope. Disa staff and students enjoyed the visit by UCT, and hope it is the first of many more Science outreaches to come.
The second CABA outreach was held on Saturday the 29th April at the UCT Anatomy Building. The initiative lead by Dr Kentse Mpolokeng and Ms Jeshika Luckrajh, together with Dr Itumeleng Ntatamala for the School of Public Health. This outreach programme was in collaboration with the Life Sciences Teachers at Silikamva High School with the aim of helping learners consolidate their knowledge about the human body and gain exposure to university-level teaching and learning to help consolidate their classroom learning. The team had planned engaging and informative program that included interactive anatomy demonstrations and discussions led by experienced academic staff and postgraduate students doing research in the Department of Human Biology.
Thirty-seven Life Sciences learners from Silikamva High School in Imizamo Yethu were part of the first group of Grade 10-12 learners hosted at UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences campus as part of the ‘Science-Is-Fun’ high school learner outreach programme. This initiative was schedules in two parts: the academic session where the aim was to provide practical anatomy demonstration sessions to help improve the learning of key Grade 12 life sciences and human biology concepts in the curriculum, followed by career guidance and workplace preparedness session that aimed to provide tailored career guidance as the learners begin contemplating future careers and workplaces to enter. Ms. Nambita Ntshongwana, a Student Recruitment Officer at UCT did a session on ‘what every learner needs to know’ regarding the UCT application process, followed by motivational talks by undergraduate health sciences of rural background studying the across all programs offered in the faculty. Some of the comments that students gave on the feedback for the academic session includes:
“I really enjoyed this session, it was the first time seeing real human tissue”, “It was great to bring the practical element of life sciences as we do not have such resources in our school”
The career guidance and workplace preparedness session was organized by Dr Itumeleng Ntatamala, Occupational Medicine Specialist and Senior Lecturer in the UCT Occupational Medicine Division. The session was provided under the auspices of the Qaphela! WorkSafe and Stay Healthy Initiative, which focuses on occupational health and safety training for young workers and teens at high schools, technical and vocational colleges, and workplaces. Qaphela! is an isi-Xhosa and isi-Zulu term for ‘be careful, be safe, and be watchful!’. The initiative aims to train young workers and teens on the identification of common hazards and risks in the workplace, prevention of occupational injuries and diseases and ‘staying healthy’, characteristics of ‘decent work/good job’, and importantly the rights of young workers as contained in South Africa’s occupational health and safety legislation. The learners further discussed where to get help should health and safety problems arise in the workplace.
The career and workplace preparedness session received positive feedback from the learners, with some reflecting that “I learned a lot that I did not know and that got me thinking about the future and mainly what I want to do after school” and that “it was exciting! Your lecturers and students were amazing – I could not stop admiring that…I felt welcome at UCT and would love to come back if given a chance”.