PHILIPPINES: New STEM education project launches thanks to funding secured by Salesian Missions from USAID/ASHA
Project to empower the next generation of STEM students with focus on engaging young women.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Feb. 20, 2023) Don Bosco Technical College (known as Don Bosco Cebu), located in Cebu City, Philippines, will be empowering the next generation of STEM students thanks to the new “Realizing 21st Century Learning in Don Bosco Cebu” project. This project was made possible thanks to a grant from United States Agency for International Development’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA) program secured by Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The project, which will run until October 2026, will construct and equip a new science and technology building on the Don Bosco Cebu campus. The first two years of the project will be focused primarily on construction and the last two years will create educational programming, integrating science, technology, engineering and math across the curriculum, as well as encourage young women to engage in STEM education.
The new Science Technology (SciTech) Center will be equipped with advanced U.S.-influenced science, technology, and innovation resources. It will provide technical and vocational workshops to promote opportunities for youth to design, prototype, and experiment with STEM applications to solve local, regional, and international problems.
The project will also create a youth-focused learning hub at the SciTech Center to support marginalized students in fostering creative scientific ideas. The center will feature learning laboratories to promote creative applications, and a multipurpose hall will be used for science fairs, remote discussions with U.S. scientists and other idea sharing. Students will learn analytical and critical thinking skills to develop impact-driven innovations. It will empower them to be the next generation’s leaders.
Once the SciTech Center is built, there will be a focus on encouraging more young women into the STEM education and employment field. Despite a high national gender development index score, women in Philippines still face significant gender gaps in financial earnings linked to labor force participation rates and traditional gender roles. Women are in the labor force at a rate of only 65 percent that of men.
This project will work to close the gender gap by using best practices to empower young women to be leaders in their communities and in the STEM fields. It will also transform the perception of gender roles and expectations of the wider public, starting with the academic culture at Don Bosco Cebu.
“We are grateful and appreciate the support of ASHA in funding this important initiative,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “This new SciTech Center will enable students to learn advanced STEM skills and become leaders in the industry. It will also work to empower more young women to see STEM as a viable academic and career option.”
Don Bosco Cebu has educated poor and marginalized youth since 1954. The school offers kindergarten, primary school, junior and senior high schools, technical and vocational education, and a college, which offers three accredited bachelor of science degrees.
Although originally founded as an all-boys school, Don Bosco Cebu integrated its student body and began accepting young women in the senior high school and technical and vocational school in 2016. The school has plans to integrate the junior high school in the near future. The college has been co-ed since its founding in 1995.
Throughout the Philippines, Salesian missionaries offer a variety of educational and social development programs for youth. The goal is to provide the opportunities necessary to gain an education and skills training to break the cycle of poverty and retain long-term employment.
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