Albert Wessels Trust donates R1.8m to support UFH Online Instrumentation Project

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FOSST Director, Mr Phumezo Kwinana is a man on a mission. He has vowed to leave no stone unturned in his quest to ensure the UFH online instrumentation project is 100% ready to provide laboratory services remotely.   We are pleased to report that his hard work has already begun yielding positive results.

This week the Forté School of Science and Technology (FOSST) Discovery Centre received good news of a once-off donation of R1 885 000  from the Albert Wessels Trust. The funding will contribute towards the enhancement of its Remote and Virtual Education Laboratory (ReVEL) facility.

Confirmation of the windfall came after an article about the ReVEL facility’s readiness to support high school and university students with Physics laboratory work remotely, during and post lockdown,  was published in This Week@FortHare.

In the funding approval letter the Trust’s chairperson, Elizanne Wessels, states “This donation is to assist the Centre in setting up an online instrumentation of your rural based science schools.”  The letter is addressed to the applicant, Mr Phumezo Kwinana FOSST Director and founder of the UFH ReVEL facility.

Launched in October last year, the ReVEL is a first of its kind virtual lab in South Africa. It was jointly sponsored by the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor), Albert Wessels Trust and TOYOTA.   Specialists from Labsland deployed the technology.

The technology attached to the university’s Physics Department offers several benefits. Using coding and robotics, it enables students and researchers to interact with peers from over 20 universities around the world on experimentations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field.  It also allows learners from local rural schools to perform all syllabus-based experiments.

Currently, a team of Scientists and Technologists from the FOSST Discovery Centre is working on a project to ensure physics experiments are accessible online for learners and university students during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

 Mr Kwinana said the donation came at a time when it was needed the most.

“It has come at a crucial time to help rescue the 2020 academic year for STEM related fields - a time when the country needs online solutions to step up and continue offering quality education to learners and students.”

“The investment by Albert Wessels Trust will certainly change the education equation for the better”, said Mr Kwinana.