“Our students have a big potential of becoming future engineers because they were able to convert pig manure into gas for cooking,” says Dianne Garcia, a chemistry teacher of Barangka National High School (BNHS) in Marikina City. “Project Tuklas opened the minds of our students to many ideas and then made them realized that their science project idea is possible.”

Garcia was referring to her third year high school students who compose a team that made it to the finals of Project Tuklas because of their project on “feces energy” was feasible. The contest, being conducted by the student organization AIESEC Philippines and sponsored by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Shell), aims to find the brightest public high school students who will be given engineering scholarships by the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev).

Garcia adds that members of the team – June Ashley Malto, Ada Louise Lique, Mary Rose Gambala, Monica Esguerra and Kathleen Ventura — can become engineers or scientists some day because Project Tuklas taught them the skills needed for such a profession.

“At first, they didn’t know how to make a project proposal. They also don’t have any idea on how to do their chosen project because they have never joined a science project contest before,” says Garcia. “Project Tuklas taught them how to make a project proposal and do an investigatory project. It also helped them overcome their shyness and become self-confident.”

AIESEC Philippines provided a foreign engineering student to guide the BNHS teams on their projects. Ukrainian Alexander Chernyshov mentors the students at BNHS. Garcia and the parents of the student contestants also helped the teams in finding the materials and building the prototype of their projects.

PhilDev, AIESEC Philippines and Shell are tapping public high schools as sources of future engineers through Project Tuklas, which was launched last year. Their belief in the potential of students as innovators was confirmed after 32 teams from 18 public high schools in Metro Manila totaling 200 students submitted projects that hewed to the contest’s theme “Future of Energy.” The BNHS has a second team of third year students, who made it to the preliminary round of Project Tuklas with their project on producing cooking fuel from janitor fish carcass.

Public school students are as competent as their counterparts in private schools in conceptualizing novel science projects. This is so because science education in public schools has improved a lot from the traditional lecture-type and book-based teaching in the past to today’s hands on-intensive and technology-supported laboratory lessons. The use of computers, CD or DVD players, projectors and the Internet in teaching and learning science lessons make students more knowledgeable in chemistry, physics, biology and other science subjects, according to Garcia.

Garcia admits that BNHS, which was established only three years ago, still lacks textbooks and has no laboratory. But she says public school science teachers and students alike are now more resourceful to cope with such limitations. In her case, she uses real-life analogy to explain lessons while her students bring readily available materials for scientific experiments. Also, books are shared by students and experiments are done in the classroom. The strategy appears to work considering that BNHS students reached the Project Tuklas final round in the school’s first-ever participation in a science project contest.

As to why the Project Tuklas contestants came up with simple, plant-based projects like producing bio-ethanol from durian or biodiesel from squash, Garcia explains that most public school students come from low-income families making them easily inspired by ideas or innovations that are less costly to prototype.

There are already 50 public high school students who qualified to receive an engineering scholarship from PhilDev by reaching the finals of Project Tuklas. Whether or not the BNHS team’s project makes the school the champion, the contest has proven the importance of public high schools in nurturing the country’s future engineers.

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About Shell

Shell is a global leader in power, energy, and gas technology and is working to meet increasing energy demand and supply challenges by delivering smarter products and cleaner energy, smarter infrastructure, smarter use, and by developing new energy sources while addressing the impact on the environment, through cleaner burning natural gas and advanced fuels and lubricants technology. At our operations, safety is our top priority. Our goal is to have zero fatalities and no incidents that cause harm to our people and neighbours and put our facilities at risk. We aim to address social concerns and work to benefit local communities, protecting our reputation as we do business.

In the Philippines, Shell represents various companies operating in oil and gas exploration, extraction, refining and delivery of smarter products for clean and fuel efficient transport in the country. Shell’s energy portfolio in the Philippines include the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project which represents roughly 40-45% of Luzon’s power generation requirements, providing the country a considerably long-term revenue stream to the government, in addition to considerable foreign exchange savings. Being at the forefront of energy and fuel efficiency, Shell advocates for the use of energy more efficiently as the simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change through driver education, fuel efficient driving behaviour, and smarter mobility collaboration and strategic partnerships to fuel the country’s progress. As Shell aims to meet the world’s future energy needs with a diversified energy mix and cleaner energy, we enjoin consumers and businesses to use energy better, to do more with less, and make energy conservation a way of life.

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Photo and caption (grabbed from PT FB page)

The team members of Barangka National High School (in uniform) with their teacher, Dianne Garcia (2nd from right) and representatives of AIESEC Philippines.

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Royal Dutch Shell plc

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Roberto Kanapi

Vice President for Communications & Government Relations

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Tel. 63.2.816-6087

Fax 63.2.814-6494