DOST-X Staff with DOST-STII Director Richard P. Burgos and Junior Breakthrough 2017 Winner, Ms. Hillary Diane E. Andales

The Department of Science and Technology – Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) hosted the STARBOOKS National Convention – Mindanao Cluster at N Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental. The convention lasted from November 14 to November 15, 2018 and was participated by school beneficiaries and DOST staff from all parts of Mindanao. The gathering aimed to equip beneficiaries the skills to maximize the use of STARBOOKS, as well as open them to other opportunities.

STARBOOKS, or the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks, is the first S&T digital library in the Philippines. It is a stand-alone information source designed to bring S&T information to the grassroots. It aims to provide S&T-based educational and learning resources in various formats to geographically-isolated schools and LGUs throughout the country, as well as enhance the educational competence of students in its beneficiary schools.

Engr. Junelyn-Louvena B. Ruiz, Misamis Oriental Provincial Science and Technology Director (PSTD), expressed her gratitude as she welcomed the guests in her opening remarks. "STARBOOKS is a tool for S&T to reach the students", she said as she amplified the event's importance to the majority of academe officials.
The message of DOST's Undersecretary for Regional Operations, USEC Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano, was delivered by Mr. Allan Taule of DOST-STII. Her message highlighted the importance of data as a measure of wealth and thus vital for improvement. USEC Manzano set further the promotion of STARBOOKS considering that "27% of the total STARBOOKS installed in the country are in Mindanao". A number deemed to increase as a result of the convention.

Cagayan de Oro City Mayor, Hon. Oscar S. Moreno also graced the event and delivered an inspiring message to make Mindanao truly progressive and productive. "Hopefully Mindanao will become not just a land of promise, but also a land of fulfillment".

Opportunities related to STARBOOKS were presented by the project's partners during the convention. Of these were the Association of Science and Mathematics Educators of Philippine Private Schools (ASMEPPS), the Infinite-O Group Foundation, and the Children's Hour Philippines Foundation, Inc. The Infinite-O Group gave the heads-up in offering free STARBOOKS-installed computers to possible requesting schools as part of their promise to deliver quality learning.

The convention made way for STARBOOKS beneficiaries to share their testimonies. Among those who testified was Mr. Darren Honrado of Patong Elementary School. Patong Elementary School was the first recipient of the Solar-powered STARBOOKS in Mindanao. He expressed great gratitude to DOST and DOST-STII for delivering STARBOOKS to their area. "Layo kaayo among eskwelahan, 3 hours ang byahe 3 hours pud magbaklay. Kung hinay ka magbaklay, basin maabtan pa kag 4-5 hours", he said as he narrated how geographically-challenged their school is. "You did not just install STARBOOKS in our computer, but you also installed hope to the students of Patong", Mr. Honrado said with heartfelt gratitude.

Driven by passion, DOST and DOST-STII work hand in hand in paving the way for science and technology in Mindanao. Narrowing the scope to the academe sector is the delivery of STARBOOKS to help recipient-schools and students gain the best of science, technology, and innovation. Truly something to look forward to are the STARBOOKS installations to all schools in the country! (Julie Anne H. Baculio, DOST-X)


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