Completing Development of the Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures Manual & Training LAB Staff on its use
Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) examination release reports at O and A levels report poor performance rates in science subjects. The major cause is attributed to the lack of students’ exposure to regular practice sessions and the theoretical teaching of science subjects by teachers instead of integrating practicals in the actual teaching of science.
The science laboratory and the staff are important components of the science teaching and learning process. For the science lab to be effectively used the lab staff must be able to effectively manage the Laboratory resources and to avail the Lab and its equipment to the teachers and learners during the lessons. During the USEP due diligence visits to the schools, it was discovered that the majority of the science laboratories were underutilized and generally untidy. The following challenges were cited as the most common by the science laboratory staff that was trained by USEP in 2019:
- Lack of adherence to standard operating procedures
- Lack of records on procurement and use of Laboratory apparatus reagents and specimens
- Randomly stored equipment and chemicals
- Computer labs with no records and with a large percentage of non-functional computers
- Non-time-tabled access to the science and computer laboratories
The availability of a standard procedure manual in the science labs shall go a long way in addressing these above challenges and making the functionality of the science labs more likely.
During the training, participants were oriented to the concept of standard operating procedures and shown prototypes sourced from other places in the world. Since these were developed in countries where the systems are more advanced, participants advised the collaborative authoring of a Laboratory Standard Operating procedure manual that fits the Ugandan situation. Upon compiling the Ugandan-based Standard Operating Procedure manual, hard copies have been made for USEP partnering schools.
A centralized training that aimed to involve the participation of LAB staff from the USEP partnering schools was conducted at the University of Kisubi (UniK) to empower schools to effectively be able to continue using the Secondary Schools LAB management SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) Manual after USEP’s programme exit from USEP Partnering Secondary schools. This activity run from 30th March 2022 up to 15th June 2022.