To keep up with the rapidly changing and technology-driven world, providing students with advanced technological capabilities and information has become integral to their education. This initiative prepares and equips them in facing and addressing many challenges in society, economy, and globalization that require technological and scientific innovations.
Philippines currently ranks 54th in the Global Innovation Index (GII) – a metric that gauges countries’ capacity for and success in innovation in connection with economic output. The index, also measures capacity through identified eight pillars, two of which focuses on Human Capital and Research and Knowledge and Technology Outputs. Jumping from its 73rd place in the last two years according to the GII 2019 12th Report, it is evident that efforts in developing a more innovative Philippines are already taking effect. To further this development, capitalizing on the country’s vast pool of talents produced in universities and colleges is prioritized.
The new but growing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or STEM education in the Philippines is essential in preparing Filipino youngsters for today’s world of non-stop innovation.
In Palawan, higher education institutes produce around 4,000 graduates a year with only a fraction of this number belonging in various STEM disciplines. Creating environments that promote hands-on learning and real-world applications and foster creativity, critical thinking, and tinkering skill in the students may encourage the youth to continue education in a STEM field.
To aid in this mission, the Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) through its Provincial Science and Technology Center in Palawan (PSTC-Palawan) initiated a project that would facilitate increased opportunities in STEM education in a creative, exciting, and competitive environment. Entitled “Enabling the Learning Environment of STEM Teachers and Students on Robotics and Mechatronics”, senior high school students and faculty in various schools in Palawan will gain foundational knowledge and skills and abilities in the high-demand, multidisciplinary area of mechatronics and robotics, particularly in design, programming, and building in a technical environment. The project will also introduce students to a number of opportunities from different sectors or industries.
Activities like distribution of education resources such as robotics and micro-electronic kits and capacity building of STEM teachers on the said field were conducted. Forty (40) public high schools all over Palawan and Puerto Princesa received the kits which were awarded during the 2019 DOST-MIMAROPA Regional S&T Week Celebration held at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on November 29, 2019.
Following the awarding, a training on how to use the kits were conducted on January 16-17, 2020 at Pulot National High School in Sofronio Española, Palawan. A total of 98 participants from various school-recipients in Southern Palawan took part in the activity. Experts from Fullbright College served as resource persons during the training.
For school-beneficiaries located in Northern Palawan, another training was held on January 23-24, 2020 at Central Taytay National High School in Taytay. Fifty (50) STEM teachers from various schools participated in the activity.
The series of trainings were culminated in Puerto Princesa City where school recipients from Puerto Princesa were trained on Basic Arduino-Based Microelectronics and Robotics. The training was attended by 27 participants composed of teachers who will facilitate the use of the kits as well as some students who are interested in learning how to use the kits.
The project was developed and implemented in partnership with the Department of Education-Palawan (DepEd-Palawan), Department of Education-Puerto Princesa City (DepEd-PPC), Fullbright College, and the Palaweño ICT Association (PICTA).
With these efforts, DOST-MIMAROPA hopes for the rise of creative and innovative minds who will contribute in developing various industries and to a more progressive and globally- competitive Palawan.