SEALNet Project Philippines 2012 (Leyte)
When: Saturday August 18, 2012 – Friday August 31, 2012
Location: Leyte Province, Philippines
Email: pp12-leyte [at] sealnetonline.org
Project Leaders: Angela Park, Francis Plaza
Project Blog: pp12leyte.tumblr.com
Through hands-on science and engineering education, Project Philippines 2012 aims to help the Filipino youth develop appreciation of the scientific traits: inquiry, problem solving, and most importantly a ‘can do’ attitude. We believe that these are powerful assets people in general must develop and exercise in order to build a strong and powerful nation; and as a result, establish economic, political, and social stability in the country. By instilling these traits and skills to the youth, we can achieve the next generation of thinkers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, ready to tackle the problems of the Philippines and create effective solutions.
Project Philippines 2012 is founded on the idea that every Filipino youth has the capability to make a positive impact. Though most of the younger generation have the ideas and talents to make a difference in their own ways, culture, social stigma, low expectations, and scarce resources restrain them from achieving their full potentials. Project Philippines 2012 believes that every student can be empowered to provide their own solutions to the challenges of their local community. We believe that by creating an environment where ideas are fostered, we can encourage the spirits of leadership, inquiry, initiative, and ingenuity – all of which are necessary attributes that help a society grow and develop.
Participants to Project Philippines 2012 will be involved in a series of activities that will instill in them the essential skills of a leader: communication, initiative, and action. Moreover, Project Philippines 2012 aims to accentuate the significance of these skills in the science and engineering world, providing the participants with the necessary tools to break out of the stereotypical classroom-oriented scientist and engineer mold. They will leave Project Philippines 2012 as aspiring scientists and engineers equipped to lead, and to initiate positive change in their community and beyond.
Statement and Motivation
As a developing country in Asia, the Philippines has experienced impressive economic growth over the past decade. In 2010, the Philippine economy grew 7.3%, spurred by consumer demand, a rebound in exports and investments, and election-related spending. Despite this growth, poverty worsened because of unsustainable population growth rate and inequitable distribution of income. The level of poverty in the Philippines, where 26.5% of the population is living below poverty line, is compounded by poor infrastructure, corrupt governance, low quality health care, and degrading level of education.
While many efforts have been put in place to improve education in the country, the Philippines, plagued by inadequate facilities and underqualified teachers, has continually struggled with providing quality education to her youths. Data have shown how seriously the Philippines is in need of more educated masses. The Philippines is the 12th most populated country in the world; however, only 1,000 out of 94 million Filipinos have doctorate degrees (Ph.D. level) and 1 out of 12,345 people are researchers. Comparing this number to neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, where 1 out of 8695, 1 out of 3215, and 1 out of 6172 people are researchers respectively, the Philippines falls significantly behind.
Over the years, the Philippines has also experienced very low scientific output. The government spends only around 0.12% of it’s GDP towards research and development in science and technology – compare that to GDP allocations as high as 3.0% in developed countries such as the United States and Japan. There is a direct correlation between the level of scientific output of a country and level of growth in the knowledge-based economy, where ideas and innovations play a vital role in the economic growth. We believe that a country rich with intellectual manpower is a country that can sustain long-term economic progress, social and political stability. While increasing the quality of education is important to address these present problems, we believe that by cultivating a scientific culture we can develop a society that is open to new ideas and can make these ideas into practical and sustainable solutions to the present problems of their community.
With all these in mind, Project Philippines 2012 aims to instill in high school students the spirit of leadership and service in science and technology beyond the conventional classroom setting. While most high school students have the talent and capability to make a difference, they are usually hindered from developing and using these skills by cultural and social detriments. This is further worsened by the persisting misconception in the country that students with an interest in science and engineering must be confined to the classroom or the laboratory. We believe that teaching science is more than just a teacher-student interaction in the classroom, and that in order for the Philippines to progress in science and technology, we need to have citizens who are not only academically-gifted but who are also leaders who can communicate, initiate, and act on their ideas. As such, Project Philippines 2012 hopes to implement a leadership project with a science and engineering focus to give these students the skills to utilize their knowledge to solve real-world problems.
Following the Southeast Asian Service and Leadership Network (SEALNet) structure, the program is founded by 2 project leaders with the help of 3 core team members. Under the project leaders, approximately 12 more qualified college students from around the world (in addition to the 3 core team members) will be chosen to become team members. A certain number of the 15 team members will be local Filipino college students to ensure that our program will be faithfully executed for the best of Philippine interest. As such, we plan to recruit students from top-notch Philippine universities, such as the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University. We envision a well-balanced and diverse team comprised of students from different educational and cultural backgrounds; applications will not be exclusive to those who are majoring in the sciences and engineering. We will welcome any college student to apply for this position, as long as they share the goals, vision, and focus of this project.
The Partner High School
We plan to partner with the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) System. The PSHS System is a specialized science high school in the Philippines operated and governed under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The school’s curriculum emphasizes STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning coupled with well-balanced training in the humanities and social sciences. Our high school students will be selected from the Philippine Science High School in Eastern Visayas.
Application to the program will be open to all year levels with preference given to junior and senior high school students. However, we will encourage 1st and 2nd year students to apply to the program. On a case by case basis, we will accept 1st and 2nd year students should we find them exceptional and fitting to join the team. The high school students must show high aptitude in STEM and interest in STEM leadership and service in their immediate community and beyond.
Project Philippines 2012 will be held at the Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas Campus (PSHS-EVC) in Palo, Leyte. PSHS-EVC is one of the ten (10) regional campuses of the PSHS System in addition to the Main Campus located in Diliman, Quezon City. The tentative start date of the project will be June 4, 2011 and will last for at least three (3) weeks.
The leadership component of the project is founded on three main core values and skills: to communicate, to initiate, and to act – or simply, CIA. Leadership will be fostered through several hands-on activities heavily geared towards STEM. The activities will mainly be mini-simulations of problems currently faced by their local community and the Philippines. Leadership activities will include but will not be limited to workshops on time and financial management, negotiation and conflict resolution, elevator pitch, team management, and agile engineering.
We hope that some of the activities will show how simple inventions, such as a water bottle filled with a teaspoon of bleach, can be a more efficient and affordable alternative light source to the entire community. Once the proposal is approved, planning for specific activities of the like will be one of our top priorities. In general, the activities we are planning to include will require students to step out of their comfort zone and get them to start acting on problems they encounter outside the classroom.
Our goal is to have the high school students design and develop a week-long community service project in their local community using the tools and skills they have acquired during the leadership workshops. The community service project will be implemented during the third week of the project. We believe that by giving them essential tools and skills instead of planning the service project ourselves is a more effective approach in empowering them to make a difference in their community.
Department of Science and Technology
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is the executive department of the Philippines responsible for the coordination of science and technology-related projects in the Philippines and to formulate policies and projects in the fields of science and technology in support of national development.
Philippine Science High School System
The Philippine Science High School System is a specialized public high school system in the Philippines that operates as an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology.
The PSHS System offers scholarships to Filipino students who are gifted in the sciences and mathematics. Admission to the PSHS is by competitive examination only, and only Filipino citizens are eligible to attend. Graduates of the PSHS are bound by law to major in the pure and applied sciences, mathematics, or engineer- ing upon entering college.
Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas Campus
The Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas Campus is one of the ten (10) regional campuses of the PSHS System located in Pawing, Palo, Leyte. It is home to a maximum of 360 students mostly coming from different provinces in the Eastern Visayas region. The campus is a 30-minute drive from the booming capital of Leyte, Tacloban City and an hour flight from Manila, the country’s capital city.
University of the Philippines Diliman
The University of the Philippines (UP) is the national university of the Philippines and is partly subsidized by the government. UP, the Philippines’ highest-ranked university based on the QS World University Rankings, is ranked 62nd in Asia and 332nd in the world. Around 70,000 applicants take the extremely competitive entrance examination each year. Aside from its Law School, UP is best-known in the Philippines for its premier education in the sciences and engineering.
Measure of Success & Sustainability
- Establish a local-based SEALNet High School Club in the Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas Campus.
- High school students continue the service projects in their local community.
- Students from different campuses of the PSHS System establish their own SEALNet club in their high school.
- Awareness about SEALNet in the local community and in the country, if possible, through social media, local media, and word-of-mouth.
- Continuation of Project Philippines in Tacloban and the PSHS.
- Meet with the Department of Science and Technology and the Philippine Science High School System in Manila.
- Convene with the local sponsors and the media.
- Meet with the Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas Campus and set-up location of the leadership workshop.
- Spend time with the college mentors and explore the community.
- Parent and Teacher conference.
- Leadership workshop.
- Community immersion.
- High school students develop a service project.
- Community service.
- Community service.
- Post-project reflections and closing activities.