Two months back we were finally given the keys to our newly rehabilitated laboratory at 30 of August Junior High School on the east side of Dili. The project was also funded by KOICA through UNESCO Jakarta, and took nearly a year to complete.
We at SESIM are extremely happy with the result. It’s just a large space with counters on either side and two rooms at one end – an office and a store room. But for us it is a dream we’ve had since we formed in 2009: a space we can use specifically to teach and develop new pratika material. Up to now our materials have been spread out in more than 4 different temporary storage spaces. Now to simply to have it all together in one place feels like a rare luxury.
The 30 of August Junior High School is one of the biggest public junior highs, and also one of the best run. The school director gives us full support, and encourages his teachers to make use of this resource. Already many of the science and mathematics teachers of the school have brought their classes to the space in order to teach pratika lesson from our revised curriculum.
Aside from this usage, we have been running our Science and Mathematics Group each Friday afternoon, and getting a great response. Dozens of local teachers and students, from junior high level to university, have been taking part as we try out new activities and expand old ones.
As the three-year junior-high curriculum revision and teacher training project comes to an end this year, SESIM looks forward to more similar work with other education levels, but also is looking to expand our efforts in the informal, extra-curricular realm, where science and mathematics are first and foremost fascinating and fun, and where students can pursue the answers to their own questions, aside from what the teacher is offering.
Following are some photos from the new laboratory, which we have christened: ‘Knua Sentrál ba Prátika Siénsia no Matemátika’, that is, the Central Home for Pratika in Science and Mathematics.