The Department of Science and Technology-National Capital Region, through its four S&T clustered areas, recently initiated activities to make classrooms in selected elementary and high schools in the region conducive to learning in time for the new school year.
Partner schools were chosen, within the barangays, which have been previously assisted by DOST-NCR through its Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) Program. For the first time in DOST-NCR’s history, each clustered area was tasked to conduct similar activities in support of the Brigada Eskwela 2019 program. Selected school recipients included the C.M. Recto High School (Main and Annex), Palanan Elementary School, and Zamora Elementary School for the PAMAMAZON cluster; CAA National High School for MUNTAPARLAS; Catmon Integrated School for CAMANAVA; and, the Pinagbuhatan Elementary School for PAMAMARISAN.
Held from May 20 to 25, 2019, the agency kicked off the activities with its own clean up drive with DOST-NCR staff trooping to the schools for minor repairs, maintenance work, and some cleaning to make the classrooms ready for its new batch of students. Now on its 16th year with the theme “Matatag na Bayan para sa Maunlad na Paaralan,” Brigada Eskwela is also known as the National Schools Maintenance Week. It encourages people from the public and private sectors to volunteer their time and resources to spruce up public elementary and high schools nationwide before the opening of classes. In addition to the volunteer activities, some cleaning implements were also donated to the schools to sustain their clean-up and maintenance programs.
Aside from readying the classrooms, DOST-NCR also conducted seminar-lectures to perk up young minds and prepare the teachers and parents to develop creative thinking and supplement their knowledge on different subject matters.
For the PAMAMAZON (Pasay, Manila, Makati, and Quezon City) Cluster, Ms. Elvin Almazar, Senior Science Research Specialist, gave Grades 3 to 6 pupils of Palanan Elementary School in Makati City a glimpse on how to build one’s Creative abilities. Aside from engaging young people to exercise their creativity, the seminar also encouraged the young school children to think-outside-of-the-box, a critical decision making and invention development skill. These are also essential for finding solutions for pressing needs of our society and communities today.
In the MUNTAPARLAS (Muntinlupa, Taguig, Parañaque, Pateros, and Las Piñas) Cluster, DOST-Science Education Institute’s (DOST-SEI) Dr. Ruby Cristobal, Chief Science Research Specialist, urged junior HS students to be part of the country's science community and explained the various scholarship opportunities available at DOST that can be availed by the students of the CAA National High School-Annex in Las Piñas City.
In the PAMAMARISAN (Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, and San Juan) Cluster, Twinville Homeowner’s Association’s officer, Mr. Magno S. Manahan and DOST-NCR’s Ms. Elvin B. Almazar conducted a training for teachers, gardening and maintenance personnel, and volunteers on the application of SNAP Hydroponics. They discussed the importance of urban agriculture and the benefits of growing your own vegetables by covering the materials needed, and step-by-step guide on starting, maintaining, and utilizing the kits to grow and harvest vegetables.
In the CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela) Cluster, a seminar on Safe Food Handling and Preparation and a livelihood training on Squash-based Recipes was held at Catmon Integrated School in Malabon City. Teachers, parents, school canteen personnel, and even students, participated and teamed up to learn how to prepare and enjoy safer and healthier meals.
Recognizing the need to equip students with digital learning tools for faster information dissemination, DOST-NCR installed STARBOOKS (Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks) at the Palanan Elementary School (1 unit), Catmon Integrated School (2 units), and CAA National High School – Annex (1 unit). Dubbed as a library-in-a box, STARBOOKS contains thousands of digitized S&T information resources in various formats: text, videos and audios that can be accessed offline though the kiosks.
Mr. Michael Lark Latoja, DOST-NCR’s STARBOOKS Coordinator, conducted an orientation-workshop for teachers and students of the aforementioned schools. He demonstrated how to use and access the unit, as well as the new features of STARBOOKS. Highlighted were the “Tamang DOSTkarte Livelihood Videos”, which are deemed useful for TLE teachers. In this activity, Mr. Latoja also explained how thousands of lessons and exercises, aligned with the DepEd’s K12 curriculum, can be accessed from the kiosk by the teachers.
The schools also received samples of novel food products made by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI). Students, and even parents and teachers enjoyed the refreshing Red Calamansi Juice and the tasty Vacuum Fried Vegetables consisting of okra, potatoes, and carrots. Apart from the unique snacks, they were also treated to a taste of the ready-to-eat (RTE) Chicken Arroz Caldo, developed by ITDI’s Packaging Technology Division (PTD), which is included in the Pack of Hope meal kits used as emergency food during disasters.
In the coming weeks, still in support of Brigada Eskwela, DOST-NCR will conduct a disaster preparedness seminar at the Dela Paz Elementary School and meal management training in Catmon Integrated School.
Though these engagements may seem brief and limited, DOST-NCR looks forward to further extend its assistance to learning institutions in various ways that can really make “Science for the People” felt at the grassroots.