Posted by Di Collins on May 21, 2017
The Microscopes in School project was the concept of the Chief Scientist of WA, Prof. Lyn Beazley.  As she was concerned at the huge shortfall of young people going on to study science at a higher level, she said that unless a love of science was developed in students at an early age this trend would be difficult to reverse.
At that time, the Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay was a very new Club and Charter President Di Collins considered this to be a project the club might take on. 
Rotary Clubs can participate by donating a set of magnifying microscopes emblazoned with the Rotary emblem to Primary Schools in their area or any other school they may wish to sponsor.  The aim is for a set of microscopes to gravitate up and down through each class from Kind to Yr.6.
The project can work from two directions.  Firstly Clubs can be proactive and approach schools offering them a set of microscopes.  Secondly, requests are received by the Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay from schools, Watercorp, or through Prof. Lyn Beazley who continues to be very pro-active where this project is concerned.  The RC Freshwater Bay then sources the nearest Rotary Club to the school with a request that the Club consider sponsoring the request. 
The RC Freshwater Bay imports the microscopes from China via an importer in Singapore and on sell them to other Clubs for $15.00 (plus delivery charge to country areas). A class set is 30 units, however, this can vary depending on the number of students in the largest class in the school.  Pre-payment is requested along with the request to supply the first set of AA (2  per unit) batteries with the microscopes to get the project up and running in the school.  Once paid, the units are available for collection and presentation to the school(s) at a School Assembly.
This project covers three Avenues in which Rotary works – Community, Youth and Vocational Service.  It is great PR and community newspapers frequently publish articles on the presentations.  It allows Clubs to develop a positive relationship with their local schools and the project does qualify for a Rotary Foundation District Grant.  Hence if a Club funds two schools it can obtain a Grant for a further two schools and so on.
Now in its eighth year currently, some 18,900 units are in 651 schools, home schools, and a variety of other establishments such as environmental centres, sponsored by 107 Rotary Clubs, individuals and Corporations. 
Microscopes are in schools in all States in Australia, East Timor, a Deaf School in Laos, two schools for refugees in Nepal, schools in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, India, Tanzania, and Thailand.  Added this year are 2 schools in Bali, 6 centres in Northern Laos, an International School in Singapore, 2 schools in Malaysia, 4 schools in Bangkok and another school in Nepal.  This project is providing some 228,000 students annually, with the opportunity to discover the microscopic world and to develop a love of science.
See www.microscopesinschools.com Contact person PP Di Collins collinsd@bigpond.net.au. T. 9385 0471