By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
To help inspire learners, especially girls, to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the Department of Education (DepEd) will feature successful Filipino women in the field of science at this year’s National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF).
The NSTF opening program, scheduled on March 3, Tuesday, will feature a Girl Power in Science forum. Expected to attend are WiTeCH founder Audrey Pe, Women Who Code Founding Director Michie Ang, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Systems Engineer Jo Santiago-Bond, Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP) Executive Director Ria Lu, and International Labour Organization (ILO) Women in STEM National Coordinator Linartes Viloria.
The Girl Power in Science forum will serve as the lead up to the week-long NSTF activities from March 3 to 6 at Novotel Manila Araneta City, Cubao, Quezon City. Originally scheduled on Feb. 11 to 13, this year’s NSTF was among the national activities suspended by DepEd amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
For this year, DepEd said 500 delegates are expected to participate in the event, that “promotes science and technology consciousness and a culture of innovation among youth.” The NSTF also aims to “identify the most creative and innovative student researches from junior and senior high school who shall represent the country in international science research fairs.”
With the theme “Advancing Communities Through Science, Technology, and Innovation,” DepEd’s national research competition will also feature various activities such as “TUKLAS,” a science and math research fair and competition that provides opportunities for junior and senior high school students to present and showcase their research projects based on issues and problems in their communities, and the “Innovation Expo,” an innovation technology competition that recognizes the most creative and market-viable project addressing major issues in agriculture, energy, water, health, and environment.
Other activities include the “Science Academy,” a conference designed to give the participants opportunities for learning and development in various talks organized to promote innovation, creativity, and excellence in science and research; and the “AGHAMBayaNiJuan,” a public community exhibition of partners in science, technology, research, and innovation to showcase the latest innovative products, technologies, and services in various areas of society.
Some 80 research projects made by junior and senior high school learners all over the country will compete in four categories that include life science, physical science, robotics and intelligent machines, and the Science Innovation Expo.
Through these NTSF activities, Briones said DepEd endeavors to “continue instilling critical thinking, problem solving, analytical thinking to our learners to prepare them for 21st century challenges.”