IOCD Logo IOCD Logo International Organization
for
Chemical Sciences in Development

What We Do: Global Microscience Project

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 RADMASTE Centre 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, involving partnerships 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 offices.

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.
As part of its partnership with the African Academy of Sciences, IOCD is developing a programme on the training of school teachers in the use of microscale science. For an article on this by IOCD scientist Prof. James Cosentino, click here.
To find out more about the Global Microscience Project, visit the following websites:
Contacting The IOCD Global Microscience Project
Dr. M. James Cosentino
Professor of Biology
Millersville University
Millersville, PA 17551
Office: 717-872-3034
Fax: 717-872-3905
Email: james.cosentino@millersville.edu

Alexandre Pokrovsky
Formerly UNESCO Division of Basic and Engineering Science
Email: an.pokrovsky@wanadoo.fr

Top of Page Top of Page