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Igniting the flame of science in Bataan

In a nation poised for growth and transformation, the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. champions the pivotal role of technology and innovation in shaping the future.

With the 2023–2028 Philippine Development Plan setting the stage for advancement, particularly in Chapter 8: Advance Research and Development, Technology, and Innovation, the government lays out a blueprint for progress.

This strategic framework not only outlines initiatives but also underscores the importance of measuring the nation's evolution in harnessing research, development, technology, and innovation.

Amid this landscape, initiatives such as the Ignite and Foster Science Culture in Education Sector through Science and Technology (iFEST) Project stand as beacons of change.

iFEST is a collaboration between the Department of Education-Schools Division Office of Balanga City (DepEd-Balanga) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Provincial Science and Technology Office-Bataan.

The project serves as a testament to the concerted efforts aimed at igniting a passion for science, technology, and innovation among the youth of Balanga City, echoing the President’s vision for a future driven by innovation.

A student from Tenejero Integrated School experiences the Van de Graaff generator during the Ignite and Foster Science Culture in Education Sector through Science and Technology STEM Education Exhibit at Vista Mall Bataan. (Tenejero Integrated School)

Inspiring curiosity

Project Leader and DepEd-Balanga Education Program Supervisor in Science Marilou Tañada shared that iFEST’s vision is to cultivate a vibrant culture of scientific exploration and technological advancement among students. Through a diverse range of activities, it aims to connect the wonders of science with technology entrepreneurship, creating fertile ground for innovation.

A highlight of the iFEST extravaganza is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Exhibit, showcasing the DOST Regional Mobile Science Centrum. Featuring 22 captivating scientific models, this exhibit offers an immersive experience designed to captivate young minds through interactive displays.

It also has a techno-preneurship exhibit and bazaar, shining a spotlight on the innovative products of Technology Business Incubators from Bataan Peninsula State University and DOST-assisted micro, small, and medium enterprises.

Students from Tenejero Integrated School explore the Pendulum Wave during the Ignite and Foster Science Culture in the Education Sector through Science and Technology STEM Education Exhibit at Vista Mall Bataan. (Tenejero Integrated School)

Empowering innovators

A crucial component of the iFEST initiative is the "I Lab Science: Journey into Robotics and 3D Printing" hands-on workshop, tailored for student innovators identified by DepEd Balanga. This workshop underscores the importance of robotics in nurturing talents aligned with the demands of Industry 4.0.

Furthermore, the project aims to bridge the gap between scientific concepts and public understanding through science film screenings. By showcasing scientific discoveries and advancements, the goal is to spark curiosity, cultivate interest in STEM fields, and promote scientific literacy among students.

Expressing gratitude for the collaboration, DepEd Balanga Schools Division Superintendent Roland Fronda emphasized the significance of hands-on experiences in science education.

“I would like to highlight the transformative power of seeing science not as a daunting subject, but as a practical tool with real-world applications,” he furthered.

Looking ahead, Fronda expressed hope for continued partnerships with DOST, recognizing the need for more initiatives to expose students to the realms of science and technology. He stressed the importance of addressing the country's lag in these fields and emphasized the potential for further collaboration to bridge this gap.

DOST Bataan OIC-Provincial Director Catalina De Leon-Cruz underscored the importance of investing in science and technology education.

With DOST's funding support, she expressed optimism that the iFEST project would inspire students and nurture their interest in science and technology, paving the way for a brighter, more innovative future.

The launch of iFEST signifies a transformative leap towards nurturing a generation of young innovators equipped with the knowledge, skills, and passion to propel Bataan, and the nation, towards a future driven by science and technology. As the flames of curiosity are ignited, the journey towards a brighter, more innovative future begins. (CLJD/RPQ-PIA 3) 

Students from Balanga City National Science High School participate in the iLab Science: Robotics workshop during the Project Ignite and Foster Science Culture in the Education Sector through Science and Technology at Vista Mall Bataan. (Balanga City National Science High School)

About the Author

Carlo Lorenzo Datu

Assistant Regional Head

Region 3

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