For the first time, Cebu City was chosen as the venue for celebration of the annual World Space Week (WSW) by the Department of Science and Technology- Science Educational Institute (DOST-SEI) for the benefit of young Cebuano students.
WSW, celebrated worldwide every year from October 4 to 10, is the “largest annual space event in the world”. It is officially declared by the United National General Assembly as an annual international holiday in recognition of the contribution of space science and technology to the “betterment of the human condition.”
It aims to inspire students, drum up public support, and foster international cooperation in promoting space education, program and cooperation.
October 4 and October 10 are chosen as inclusive dates of WSW to highlight their historical significance. Sputnik 1 the first human-made artificial Earth satellite, was launched on October 4, 19567 while the Outer Space Treaty was signed on October 10, 1967.
The DOST-SEI leads the annual WSW commemoration in the country by holding space science-related activities in a chosen locality every year through its Philippine Space Science Education Program (PSSEP). This year’s celebration, held on October 4 and 5 in Cebu City, marked the first time the SEI-sponsored event was held in Cebu and in the entire Visayas.
At total of 122 participants representing public high schools and grade schools in Cebu attended the two-day event. The number of public school participants was composed of 60 high school students, 60 elementary students, 20 high school teachers, 20 elementary teachers, and two supervisors.
DOST 7 Regional Director Edilberto Paradela lauded SEI officials, led by SEI Director, Dr. Josette Biyo, and Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, astrophysicist and PSSEP focal person, for choosing to hold the event in Central Visayas, particularly in Cebu City.
He also acknowledged the role of SEI in promoting the country’s space education program to “create awareness among the students on career opportunities in the various fields of science and engineering including space science that would raise standards and address skill shortages in this discipline.”
According to SEI, the purpose of holding WSP activities in a different area every year is “to intensify the impact of the PSSEP and to reach wider audiences in space related activities.” Dr. Biyo said “(t)his is to ensure that we touch on critical audiences as so far, the WSW has primarily reached Metro Manila and Luzon provinces like Dagupan and Palawan. This is the first in the Visayas and we hope to reach more areas for us to really urge students that there are opportunities in space science.”
“As we move forward with our plans for the establishment of our own space agency, starting with the launch of our microsatellite, Diwata-1, we hope that this celebration makes our people appreciate more the value of space science and technology applications,” she said.
One of the highlights in the two-day event was a lecture on “Opportunities for Space Science in the Philippines” conducted on the first day by Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, one of the country’s only three astrophysicists. The lecture was attended by high school and elementary students and faculty members of various government schools in the city.
On-the-spot poster-making contest for grade school students, and the annual National Water Rocket Competition for high school students were also held on the second day.
written by: Licinio Gingoyon