By Lawrence San Diego
Creativity and science were both front and center in the latest initiative of the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to encourage inventive and innovative thinking among young Filipinos in far-flung communities.
DOST-TAPI launched its Project SciNing last year to address challenges in promoting science and innovation literacy in the country, particularly in underserved areas where learning resources are limited and teaching methods are often conventional.
Using a three-pronged strategy that leverages experiential learning, creative storytelling, and meaningful partnerships, Project SciNing sought to inspire a new generation of promising Filipino inventors and innovators.
Project SciNing Head Engr. Marvin Eric Dela Cruz highlighted the project’s advocacy at the Posible sa SciNing gala.
“With this project, we hope we can help in reversing the trend of declining literacy rates in science among Filipino youth,” explained Project SciNing Head Marvin Eric Dela Cruz. “We also want to rethink the way we communicate science and explore different artistic expressions to tell stories of ingenuity and innovation that are deeply felt and understood by more Filipinos.”
Igniting the Spark in Basilan
For its inaugural activity, Project SciNing chose as its pilot site the island of Basilan—a province in the Bangsamoro region with diverse and distinct cultural assets and potential to harness ingenuity and creativity among its local students to address social struggles.
The Invent School program stimulates students’ skills in creativity, design thinking, and problem solving.
For its core activity, the project brought to Basilan for the first time DOST-TAPI’s Invent School as a venue for experiential learning in invention and innovation. More than 30 high school students from all over Basilan joined in interactive seminars and workshops to learn creative thinking, problem solving, ideation tools and techniques, invention development, and intellectual property rights, among other topics.
As a flagship program of DOST-TAPI, Invent School aims to ignite the spark of curiosity and inventiveness among its students and push them to pursue their novel ideas in science and technology. Since 2008, the program has already reached around 10,000 students in more than 1,500 schools from all over the country.
The Basilan Invent School became even more special with participating Filipino inventors who brought their inventions that can enrich music and science lessons. Music teacher Jericho Castro demonstrated his Jerichord guitar, a teaching instrument uniquely designed to help beginners learn guitar a lot easier. Young inventor Jeremy De Leon introduced his Make-roscope, a portable single-lens microscope for mobile gadgets, which Invent School students used to examine specimens they collected from the field.
Students engaged in field activities as part of their experiential learning at the Invent School.
“It is important for our youth to meet these inventors face to face, for them to know that Filipino inventors do exist, and that there are real-life science heroes who they can look up to,” said Dela Cruz. “Our trip to Basilan was also an opportunity for these inventors to demonstrate and test their inventions in actual settings, and for them to share their journey in science and innovation to a bigger audience, especially to young people who can be inspired to embark on their own journey.”
Through Project SciNing, DOST-TAPI hopes to broaden the scope and coverage of Invent School and forge new partnerships for the program so it can reach more students in the country.
“With Invent School, we were able to encourage and jumpstart the interest of our Bangsamoro children so they can participate more in the field of modernization through invention,” said Abdulrakman Asim, Director General of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Celebrating Inventions and Innovations through Stories
To celebrate its success in Basilan and to further promote its advocacy, Project SciNing held the Posible sa SciNing Gala last December 2022 in Makati City for its partners from Basilan, various government agencies, the science community, and the private sector.
DOST-TAPI held the Posible sa SciNing Gala and Art and Photo Exhibition last December 2022 in Makati City.
Posible sa SciNing hosted the premiere of the film Lalem Palayangan (Paglipad nang Malalim), which documented the lives of three girls from Basilan as they discovered a new world in the science and innovation community through the Invent School. The documentary also highlighted inventors Castro and De Leon and how they inspired young minds to pursue their dreams and ideals despite hardships of everyday life. Their success is a testament of what is possible through the collaboration with DOST-TAPI.
Local artist Coeli San Luis performed Lalem Palayangan’s original soundtrack “Walang Hadlang.”
Posible sa SciNing also launched Walang Hadlang, the film’s original soundtrack; a gallery of artworks created by the Invent School students; and Kaibuturan, a photo exhibit, all synergized with the film screening.
The growing community of DOST-TAPI was also highlighted at the gala by giving recognition to partner organizations and assisted inventors who participated in and contributed to the agency’s various programs.
Through the humanized stories of invention and innovation presented through film, music, art, and photos, Project SciNing hopes to also ignite a spark of commitment among key stakeholders, decision makers, and potential partners to work with DOST-TAPI in enhancing the country’s local ecosystem and network of Filipino innovations.
The Posible sa SciNing partnership gala was a memorable night for celebrating the success of Project SciNing in Basilan.
“When we conceptualized Project SciNing, our ultimate goal was to tell science stories that resonate with our audiences,” Dela Cruz said. “When we tell stories about inventions and innovations that people can relate to, it helps us in our mandate to inspire and nurture Filipino ingenuity in every corner of the country.”
Project SciNing is funded through the National Economic and Development Authority’s
Innovation Grants for 2022. The project’s outcomes in scaling up the adoption of local
inventions and technologies and the capacities of the youth in creativity and innovation all
contribute to the country’s improved ranking in the Global Innovation Index.
Excited to bring DOST-TAPI’s Invent School to your area? Click HERE to learn more about our Invent School program.