Opportunities and protocol for the teaching of materials science in Africa

Stepto R.F.T. ; Cail J.I. ; Taylor D.J.R. ; Ward I.M. ; Jones R.A. (2001)

Conference Paper

During the last 30 years the world's materials around us have changed from - steel, concrete and wood to new materials with their own chemistry, and they constitute a large part of the manufacturing industry and our imports. Emphasis is on polymers, advanced materials for the electronic and medical industries and novel ceramics, amongst others. Yet, a school leaver often doesn't know much, or anything, about steel, concrete or what a plastic bag is and how to recycle it. There is an urgent need to address the improved teaching of materials science, especially in Africa [1, 2]. The NSF in America funded the Materials Science Department at Iowa University to create standards eight, nine and ten, i.e. senior high school, material science course. Sixteen teachers were used to write the notes and teachers manual. We are looking at the use of this course to promote materials science as a third matric science subject. We are of the opinion that this course could do much to improve science teaching in Africa and make the matric student much more conscious of materials around him/her. This presentation (which in some form had been presented at various conferences) mentions what this course in materials science and macromolecules covers and, further what we can do and achieve with multimedia education at university level [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It will be based on the courses: MATTER, from Chapman-Hall, developed by Liverpool University and Macrogalleria, developed by Prof. Lon Mathias at University of Southern Mississippi.

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