By Joy M. Lazcano
S&T Media Service, DOST-STII
Bringing the mountain to Mohamad. This is exactly what the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) has done in regard to bringing S&T information to the grassroots. Through the Science and Technology Academic Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks or STARBOOKS, DOST reached places that had limited S&T information resources nor Internet connection.
STARBOOKS is the country’s first digital library with hundreds of thousands of S&T information content. Developed by the DOST’s Science and Technology Information Institute, STARBOOKS recently celebrated another milestone.
In a community in Laguna, STARBOOKS marked its 1000th site with the installation of four units at the Dayap National High School in Brgy. Dayap, Calauan, Laguna. Currently, STARBOOKS has deployed more than 1,123 units in several barangays and municipalities in the country.
Accessible on-site even without Internet connection, STARBOOKS provides students, researchers, and S&T aficionados with thousands of free S&T related materials in text, audio, and video formats.
Among these are K-12 interactive courseware on math and science developed by DOST’s Science Education Institute, livelihood videos dubbed as “TamangDOSTkarte” which provides parents and entrepreneurial students a thing or two about various livelihood opportunities within their sphere of interest, and other videos.
Furthermore, unlike Internet searches, STARBOOKS assures the public that they are accessing credible sources of information.
Witnessing the milestone are DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña and Calauan Mayor Buenofrido Berris.
“We at DOST,” said de la Peña, “are striving to cut boundaries so we can reach those who are in need of our services and assistance, alleviate poverty, and expand our local industries.”
He added that STARBOOKS is proof of DOST’s innovativeness and its commitment in providing significant technologies that answer to the needs of the public.
One of the prevailing problems in the country that affect development is the slow Internet connection, which curbs learning. This area of concern is now being addressed through STARBOOKS as it provides offline and royalty-free S&T resources.
Launched in 2012, STARBOOKS units were first deployed at DOST Regional Offices XI and IX, and in Zamboanga City High School. Succeeding years saw the number of sites rise until it finally reached its 1000th.