Mamelodi Campus Science Reading Room selected as one of the seven leading centres in the world

Posted on February 11, 2013

The Mae Jemison Science Reading Room, located on the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Campus, is a science and technology learning facility for students and school learners in and around the Mamelodi community. It was inaugurated in 2009 as a partnership between the United States Embassy in Pretoria and the University of Pretoria.

The US State Department has about 800 “American Spaces” across the globe, where the US State Department, through its embassies, interacts with and engages local communities and provides support and interventions, particularly through education and information sharing. Seven sites were selected as leading examples of innovative ways to achieve this. The Mae Jemison Science Reading Room is the only one in Africa that was selected for the project.

Since its inception, there have been regular science education programmes since 2009. Apart from also hosting English language classes, the facility has also presented over 30 special science programmes. Students from Mamelodi and surrounding townships attend the programmes and have regularly made use of the facility in terms of doing their homework, borrowing books and also using computers available to them at the facility.

The Mae Jemison US Science Reading Room can accommodate approximately 60 people. It has three sections: a reading room, exhibition space and an audiovisual auditorium. The facility houses approximately 3 000 books and films and 58 magazine subscriptions with an emphasis on science and technology and other related topics. It also has five computers with Internet access and an exhibition area for exhibitions, science experiments and demonstrations. The audiovisual auditorium also enables multimedia presentations and sessions.

Commenting on the achievement, the Director of the Mamelodi Campus, Mr Edwin Smith, said: “That our partnership with the US Embassy in Pretoria has been selected as a ‘model American space’ of innovation by such an important institution as the Smithsonian Institution, is a great acknowledgement of our work in promoting interest in science and the rare and critical skills in our local communities. Our efforts in Mamelodi should be a model, also for our very own country and communities elsewhere on the Continent.”

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