BENGUET, Mar. 5 (PIA) -- Putting importance on providing access to knowledge and information that can empower communities towards progress and disaster resiliency, the United Nations World Food Program partnered with the Department of Science and Technology to bring the DOST – Science and Technology Information Institute- developed STARBOOKS (Science and Technology Academic Research Based Openly Operated Kiosks) Digital Library to public schools in remote areas in the province.
In a turn–over ceremony hosted by Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso at the provincial capitol here, DOST–CAR Assistant Regional Director Nancy Bantog and DOST–STII Finance and Admin chief Arlene Centeno led the awarding of 14 units of STARBOOKS to the officials and representatives of the public school beneficiaries.
Department of Education – Cordillera Asst. Regional Director Bettina Aquino and Mario Baucas Jr., a representative of Congressman Ronald Cosalan, witnessed the event.
UN WFP Country Director Stephen Gluning, in his message read by Shai Claver of DOST–CAR, said that the partnership is truly critical to ensuring that communities have access to scientific knowledge and are empowered by that knowledge to act.
Gluning stated that when WFP learned about the STARBOOKS, they have been helping to scale – up the distribution of such digital library throughout the country as they appreciated that the project makes information especially related to disaster preparedness and response and climate change adaptation accessible and user friendly.
The WFP believes that natural and man–made disasters are among the main drivers of hunger and malnutrition, he said.
Bantog expounded that STARBOOKS is an innovation that allows access to thousands of S&T materials that do not need internet connection. This is appropriate to the Cordillera where internet service providers have a hard time covering the whole region given its unique mountainous terrain.
The STARBOOKS not only contains the programs and services of the DOST but also includes information on disaster mitigation and preparedness, climate change adaptation and S&T related educational videos and library materials.
The DOST has been relentless in rolling out the STARBOOKS to various stakeholders in Cordillera mostly to the academic sector. To date, 118 units have been provided to various stakeholders in the region.
Bantog said the DOST already provided STARBOOKS to 57 out of the 77 municipalities in the region. She added that they signed a memorandum of agreement with DepEd last January for the deployment of 42 STARBOOKS to priority elementary and high schools in the region.
Priority means those who have no access to internet service. For public schools that also have no access to electricity, the STARBOOKS comes with solar panels to power it up, Bantog said. Carlito C. Dar (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)