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Students from Nachitheme Secondary School, off Salima Turn-Off in Ntcheu, on February 16, 2018 had a rare opportunity of having a lesson delivered by a university lecturer in a university lecture theatre.
Students from all classes at the school had paid Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) an educational visit but apart from getting a brief on the university, its activities, programs and requirements for selection, the school’s teachers requested for a lecture in physics for Forms 3 and 4 students.
“We would also like the students to learn something on radioactivity in nuclear physics, especially on properties of gamma rays, alpha and beta particles as well as radiation detectors,” wrote one of the teachers, Adam Mangani.
As one of way of motivating young Malawians to pursue science and technology related programs, Chisomo Daka, a lecturer in Physics at MUST, took up the challenge to drill the students.
Daka delivered the lesson through a Powerpoint presentation, complete with graphic features to excite and simplify matters for the students.
After the lesson, students in the other classes were called in, and James Mphande, the university’s communications manager, briefed them on the university’s history, programmes currently on offer and those coming in the short term, selection requirements for the various programmes, fees structure, teaching and learning modalities and examination rules and regulations and accommodation.
“We usually utilise such visits to sell the university to our prospective students. Much as we try to visit some schools with career talks, it is difficult to reach out to all that need such services, so when they visit we seize the opportunity.
“Today’s activities were special because most visitors just get a briefing and tour the campus and its infrastructure. But giving visiting students a lecture rarely happens. Sometimes we use academic staff members, especially the youthful ones, and students to give such visitors motivational talks,” said Mphande who coordinates such visits.
He said the university receives such visitors on weekly basis and sometimes even from primary and nursery school and religious institutions.
“For primary school pupils and below, usually they just tour the campus as they rarely understand how universities operate since they are several levels below,” he said.
At the end of the visit, Mangani was very appreciative on behalf the school and the students.
“We really thank the management of MUST, Mr Daka and you personally, for the warm welcome and the captivating lecture and talk. Please continue welcoming your visitors warmly,” said Mangani.
Apart from such visits and the university’s efforts to visit schools with career guidance, MUST also organises open days for secondary school students and other stakeholders to learn more about the institution and its activities.
It also, annually, organises a girls science camp, targeting secondary school girls to allow them experience university life by camping at MUST for two weeks and being drilled in science and technology related issues on top of meeting role models in the field of science and technology.