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organic chemistry lab courses in Pakistan

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Old 12-29-2003, 04:41 AM
Allan Adler
Posts: n/a
Default organic chemistry lab courses in Pakistan

Mohammed Farooq writes that the semi-micro method is used in the
organic chemistry lab courses he has taken in Pakistan. The only
lab book I own that says it uses the semi-micro method is "Laboratory
experiments in general chemistry", by Z. Vasilyeva et al, published by MIR
publishers in Moscow, 1974. It isn't an organic book. I have one organic lab
book that is explicitly microscale. The others don't say what they are and,
since I don't know the formal definition of "semimicroscale" or any of the
other classifications, I don't know how to figure out what they are.
They are: (1) Pavia, Lampman, Kriz: Intro to organic laboratory techniques,
2nd ed. (1982); (2) Adams, Johnson, Wilcox: Laboratory experiments in organic
chemistry, 5th ed. (1963); (3) Gottfried Brieger: A laboratory manual for
modern organic chemistry (1969).

What lab books are used in Pakistan? Or do students simply rely on lab
instructions handed out or copied down from a blackboard?

Perhaps MF can post on a website a copy (or translation) of the complete lab
instructions for what he regards as a typical unsafe experiment conducted in
the course, instead of just a few anecdotal details. It might be instructive
for readers of this newsgroup to see the criticisms of the lab instructions
by the cognoscenti of this newsgroup, as well as comments by other readers
about other places where some of the practices considered unsafe are also
still used.

There was a three volume set, entitled Guidebook to Constructing Inexpensive
Science Teaching Equipment, for use in third world countries. One volume
dealt with physics, one with chemistry and one with biology. I don't think
any of volumes was particularly advanced. They might have been intended for
high school level. I don't know if the project was ever intended to achieve
a higher level eventually or whether funding simply ran out before they could
achieve a higher level.

I have the volume for chemistry in front of me. There is a chapter on
glassware techniques, a chapter on burners, a chapter on measuring
apparatus, a chapter on supports, one on glassware and crockery (including
recycling light bulbs as flasks and watch glasses), a chapter on separators
and purifiers, one on gas generators, one on metalware and test tube cleaners,
one on heaters and dryers, one on molecular models, a chapter on
chromatographic apparatus, and a chapter on "multipurpose syringes",
which include dropers, pipettes, pumps, gas studies apparatus, diffusion
apparatus, oxidation apparatus, analytical apparatus and conductance
apparatus. Looking in the index, which covers all three volumes, the physics
volume has various constructions for balances, including a microbalance.

Nothing about fume hoods.

Was the ISTEP (Inexpensive Science Teaching Equipment Project) the last
of its kind or are there still international efforts to publish methods
of improving science teaching in 3rd world countries?

Please don't reply privately. I think a discussion such as this is better
conducted in public.

Allan Adler
[Only registered users see links. ]

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Old 12-29-2003, 01:20 PM
Mohammed Farooq
Posts: n/a
Default organic chemistry lab courses in Pakistan

Allan Adler <[Only registered users see links. ].mit.edu> wrote in message news:<[Only registered users see links. ].mit.edu>...

Allan Adler asked whether students simply relied on lab instructions
handed out or copied down from a blackboard? It is usually both ways a
written hand-out or sometime a locally avaiable manual with black
board instructions. From semimicroanalysis I meant an amount
corresponding to 50 mg to 1 gram, perhaps this definition is
arbitrary. The public universities usually cater to the middle class,
the so-called elites go abroad for higher education. Imagine the fee
per semester is only 45 dollars only. Yet many are unable to afford
it. Only 2 percents of the population gets a chance for higher
education. So the universities are poorly funded and hence efficient
fumehoods, exhaust systems are an extra burden, and no one bothers to
install them. So there is no question of goggles, only a lab-coat is
considered important. An example of unsafe practice is pipetting
liquids by mouth. Perhaps no one is interested in organic course in
developing countries because no one comes to study there.

I am aware of " The New UNESCO Source Book for Science Teaching" book,
254 pages, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization 1979. It was once available online and as you said it is
for secondary schools. I have "Qualitative Chemical Semimicroanalysis"
by M Alexeyev Mir publishers, Moscow, however this is not the book
which is followed. The most popular book is Vogel's textbook of
qualitative analysis. Vogel has also wriiten a comprehensive book
"Practical Organic Chemistry".
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