RP’s first Science Explorer

The Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) on Monday (October 4) launched the Philippines’ first mobile interactive learning facility in a bid to help students from under-equipped schools get a fun and learning experience in science and technology.

Dubbed “The Science Explorer,” the bus was launched at the Gen. T. de Leon National High School in Valenzuela City and was well-attended by officials of DOST, Department of Education-Division of Valenzuela, city government officials, principals and students.

Dr. Ester B. Ogena, director of DOST-SEI, said the Science Explorer seeks to bridge the lack of science facilities in schools in the country.

“As of last year, we only have 4,060 high school science laboratories, out of the 5,359 public high schools we have.  What is more appalling is the nationwide ratio of pupils to science laboratories at 1,325:1,” she said.

Ogena said the Science Explorer seeks to present science and technology as a fun and interactive learning experience with out-of-the-box activities that is not usually done in the classroom.

“Students get access to science activities, audio-visual equipment, interactive exhibits, and various learning materials that will be helpful in facilitating learning to the students,” she said.

DOST promotes local technology

“Local technology works!” is the emphatic message of Secretary Mario G. Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Secretary Montejo said that the National Innovation Agenda dubbed “Filipinnovation” represents the policy direction of the new administration. Citing the advances made by the science community in the past, he said that the country can count on Filipino researchers given a climate conducive for innovation; supporting and working with local firms to come up with products, services, and technologies that are competitive.

“Remember that we are encouraging complementation where initiatives are harmonized for the various disciplines to work together with the goal of making things simple yet beneficial”, secretary Montejo explained.

What’s important, according to the new Science Secretary, is the Department’s effort of promoting technologies that have been developed by the Filipinos. He added, “Another good side of this effort is that we are attacking problems via strong partnership. Here, the government, academe, and private sector are working together towards attaining a common goal.”

Of the many of plans the DOST wants to realize, says Secretary Montejo is the locally manufactured mass transit system which is already on the initial stages of development. The railway track for the planned prototype will be at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He disclosed that DOST hopes to have the groundbreaking by November 2010 and finish it within a six-month period after the groundbreaking. “What makes this mass transport system different is that it will be locally manufactured and would cost much less that other mass transport systems developed from other countries”, he said.

Secretary Montejo also shared that the DOST is also considering the possibility of using wind energy by way of windmills. “But we are seriously looking at the most cost-effective design unlike the one currently use in Ilocos. We hope to bring down the cost of production to at least 50% compared to what is currently in use,” he added. Other aspect being seriously examined are flood monitoring and flood control. On the monitoring side, the DOST is currently upgrading the existing sensors along the Marikina River and designing flood control systems together with other agencies.

Various activities are also underway as far as information and communications technology is concerned. The DOST is determined to develop a PC Tablet for students that would cost as low as PhP3,000.00. This would come in much cheaper than those available in the market and would be advantageous to students. “Imagine a PC Tablet at PhP3,000.00; if mass manufactured there is still the possibility of pulling down its cost thereby making it even more affordable,” Aristotle P. Carandang

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