Aiming to improve education, especially in rural areas across the region, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 02, through its Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program, awarded Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks STARBOOKS) to seven (7) DepEd schools in the region on January 29, 2024, at the DOST R02 conference hall.
The seven beneficiaries’ homes of Indigenous people (IP) from Aridowen Integrated School, Gabut Integrated School, and Dalin Elementary School from the province of Cagayan; Oyao Elementary School, Cawacao Integrated School, and Cabuuan Elementary School from the province of Nueva Vizcaya; and Wasid Integrated School from the province of Quirino received a package that includes a STARBOOKS-installed unit and materials for Smarter Education.
Moreover, part of the event is the orientation, led by STARBOOKS project Staff in-charge, Mr. Carl Joshua Reyes, who discussed the fundamentals, such as how to register, the key features, especially the contents in the form of video and text, and briefly discussed steps on how to navigate.
Meanwhile, the CEST regional coordinator, Ms. Rowena A. Guzman, briefly discussed the major programs and new plans of DOST Region 02, emphasizing the target outcomes this year, such as SETUP, IFWD, iSTART, scholarships, Smart Communities, and the CEST program, in which the STARBOOKS program is under and targeting human resource development.
DOST 02 Regional Director, Virginia G. Bilgera, emphasized in her message the importance of the collaboration of other government agencies to have a wider reach in helping the communities in need.
“Let us all be together to help and reach out, lalo na yung mga nasa laylayan ng komunidad.” she added.
The event also included a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the partner agencies, such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of Education (DepEd), and local government units (barangay officials), to establish a strong partnership by providing a basis for negotiations and outlining key terms and expectations between parties.
STARBOOKS, a comprehensive repository of knowledge containing thousands of resources related to science and mathematics in text or video format, aims to help academic institutions improve the level of education particularly in geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), furthermore, this program supports the MATATAG curriculum of DepEd to accelerate the delivery of basic education services and provision facilities; promoting learner well-being, inclusiveness learning, and positive learning environment; and, Give support for teachers to teach better.
Now, DOST 02 STARBOOKS has already reached more than 500 barangays in the far-flung areas of the region, including four indigenous communities such as the Bugkalot, Ayangan, Kalanguya, and Aeta tribes.