Former IOCD Global Microscale Science Project
For many years IOCD undertook a project in microscale science, led by Dr. Alexandre Pokrovsky, who
had a distinguished career at UNESCO where he was formerly Director of the Division of Basic and Engineering
Science. Dr. Pokrovsky played a leading role in UNESCO's development of its Global Microscience Project.
IOCD supported this programme and is extremely grateful to Dr. Pokrovsky for his long-standing and tireless
efforts to promote the practical development and use of microscale approaches around the world. The panel
below explains the aims and objectives of the Global Microscience Project and highlights some of IOCD's
How Do You Teach Science If Your Students Have No Laboratory?
Practical laboratory work is often extremely limited in low- and middle-income country (LMIC) science courses due
to the poor availability of equipment, chemicals and lab facilities. To overcome these difficulties, John
Bradley, then a chemistry professor at the University of
Witwatersrand, S Africa
, developed portable micro-scale kits involving miniature pieces of apparatus that
teachers could use in the classroom enabling with very small quantities of chemicals, enabling chemical reactions
to be conducted and experiments observed at first hand even in very poorly resourced schools.
Bradley's effort was such a success that he was honoured for his inventiveness and courage and he succeeded in attracting various
international organizations to help him develop and disseminate his concept to underprivileged areas around the world. The
at the University of Witwatersrand continues to promote micro-scale science and hosts one of a global network of
UNESCO-Associated Centres for Microscience Experiments
that form the
Global Microscience Project
with IOCD, UNESCO,
the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Foundation for Science Education (IFSE).
The kits and materials are designed to be easily adaptable to different national curricula. At the present
time, English versions of the available microscience materials provide coverage of all educational levels:
from primary to all of the secondary level (and university/tertiary level in some cases). These
materials include chemistry, physics (micro-electricity resources) and biology teaching. There are also many
language versions available of specific microscience materials, indicating world community interest to
develop the project further. UNESCO provides global access to the guide for teachers and the student manual
on its website
and provides the kits free of charge to schools in areas where it has field
Cameroonian students using RADMASTE™ Microchemistry Kits
The reduction of copper(II) oxide using the RADMASTE™ Basic Microchemistry Kit
Educators learning to use the RADMASTE™ Microelectricity Kits.
Using the RADMASTE™ Molecular Stencil to enhance understanding of the Particle Model.
(All photos courtesy of Beverly Bell)
Under the auspices of UNESCO, IUPAC, IFSE and IOCD, more than 80 countries have benefited from introductory microchemistry workshops
and training courses, all of which have had positive review by local experts and teachers alike. In some countries, UNESCO-
Associated Centres have been established to further develop the microscience project. Production of kits has started in Kazan,
Tatarstan in Russia, due to the efforts of Alexandre Pokrovsky, a former UNESCO scientist who is now an IFSE officer and a
consultant to IOCD for the Global Microscience Project.
To find out more about the Global Microscience Project, visit the following websites:
Subsequent to the winding up of its Global Microscience Project, IOCD has embarked on a new phase of work to
catalyse the uptake of microscale science approaches in particular countries. For details of this new
follow-on activity, see the section on Micro-Scale Science