How do we reach out?Tuesday, November 08, 2016 04:37 AM Views : 1712Aristotle P. Carandang, Ph.D.
Reaching out to everyone is perhaps the biggest challenge that government information officers have to hurdle.
In more ways than one, information handlers of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have been using almost all means necessary in order to reach out to as many individuals as possible. This is extraordinarily important because several surveys showed that awareness of the general population to specific activities of the department is low. And in these same surveys, sources of information about the DOST and its activities remain to be same – television, radio, newspaper, internet, etc.
In my last editorial for the S&T Post (Volume XXXIV No. 3) titled "Reaching Out" , I mentioned that science used to exist in the realm of the learned. And scientists used to dwell in ivory towers. These were apt descriptions of what science used to be. Yes, it used to be like that.
And let me continue by sharing the rest of the piece:
"In this day and age where information is shared instantaneously, there remains, however, the question ‘Is everyone really empowered?' Some may even ask, ‘What about inclusiveness?' Yes, empowerment and inclusiveness are words too big to swallow, even for those with the most voracious of appetites.
It is noteworthy that despite the actual and perceived limitations, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has never ceased to deliver wonders by reaching out to people regardless of economic status, sexual orientation, political belief, religious affiliation, and what not.
In the 2016 celebration of the National Science and Technology Week or NSTW, the biggest annual event in the science community organized by the department, a totally different approach was employed. For the first time, the one-time-big-time national celebration with events in four regional clusters was changed into real national simultaneous celebrations where events were held in all DOST regional offices aside from the four major science hubs in Bicutan, Taguig City; Quezon City; Manila; and Los Baños, Laguna. The theme was Juan Science, One Nation.
With this major change, the new DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña has this to say: ‘We hope to sustain the enthusiasm on science and technology created by the past administrations and work on what remains to be resolved for the benefit of even those who are on the outskirts of development. This is the first time that the DOST will be doing a simultaneous celebration not only in Manila, but to the different regions of the country.'
For any event organizer, complicated setup like these simultaneous events all over the country is a logistical nightmare. But for those who pursue noble causes, trying to at least realize a bit of the words ‘empowerment' and ‘inclusiveness', everything is possible. The extent of the initiative may almost be immeasurable but for the tireless people in the entire system, nothing is impossible. It was reported that about 140,000 souls were reached by the 2016 NSTW – almost double from the 2015 figure.
Perhaps, we can only agree with Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekie, author of Friendship for Leadership, when he said, ‘When passion meets work, work becomes a hobby.' This is especially true to the hardworking people of the department who tried every possible means to reach out. In realizing the challenge, it is as if they have been accustomed to their usual loads, making their everyday work part of their everyday routines thereby making them a habit of sort.
The science chief led the annual NSTW activities at the DOST Complex in Bicutan, Taguig City as the celebration kicked off on the 25th of July. The event was de la Peña's first major S&T activity upon his assumption to office.
The 2016 NSTW featured technology open houses, symposia, scientific forums, technology fairs, film showings, scientific career talks, and technology launches among others. In the provinces, the DOST regional offices prepared various exciting activities. The NSTW is celebrated every third week of July of each year through the Proclamation No. 169 of 1993. It aims to recognize the contribution of science and technology in the development of the country and garner support from the public and private institutions for its sustainable development."