19.11.2018 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

UNESCO Supports World Science Day 2018 Celebration in Timor-Leste

©UNESCO Jakarta

More than 700 participants, mostly junior high school students including selected senior high school students throughout Timor-Leste participated in the 2018 World Science Day Celebration organized by the Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO (TLNCU) through its sub-division SESIM or the Center for the Study of Science and Mathematics in commemoration of the annual event. Not only Science but also Mathematics were celebrated during the annual commemoration which was held this time in a new location in the sub-district of Venilale in the municipality of Baucau, east of the capital Dili on November 7-9, 2018. UNESCO Jakarta supported the event together with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Culture and Conoco Phillips. The three institutions provided financial support for the success of the celebration.

One of the highlight of the annual program organized by the TLNCU is the pratika or hands-on lessons/activities’ competition for the participants. 106 topics of math and science subjects or themes were initially submitted and entered for the competition by the participating schools throughout the territory and 40 topics were chosen and selected as winners represented by the 40 groups of students coming from all the municipalities among them 53% girls. The 40 group winners were chosen by a group of jury composed of professional lecturers from the National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL).

All the 40 groups of students were invited to the event and showcased their hands-on research experiments pratika explaining the scientific or mathematical topic chosen and how it was studied and illustrated at the science camp, the main feature of the annual celebration. Each group was composed of three students and a chaperone teacher. Other schools from within and other municipalities were also invited to the event. Local government authorities of Baucau and members of the local community also joined the 17th World Science Day celebration.

Displays and exhibitions of the math and science projects or activities developed by the 40 groups participating in the event were presented on display boards provided by the US Embassy in Timor-Leste donated for the purpose, which was their response to last year’s celebration to make the presentation display better. The presentation boards helped focus the presentations and has provided a synopsis of the pratika or hands-on activities for observers and visitors to clearly see the presentation of the different groups. In addition, a group of mentor-teachers from the National University of Timor-Leste visited each display booth and listened carefully to the explanations of the groups to make sure that concepts and ideas of the students were clearly and correctly presented.

One of the key features of the event/celebration was the 10 different seminars conducted by the SESIM group to more than 200 participants, both students and teachers during the science camp. Moreover, video presentations on science and mathematics were projected during evening sessions as part of the program.

The official program included remarks from Mr. Cidalio Leite, Director General for Pre-School, Basic Education and Recurrent Education, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and Ms Cecilia Assis, Director General for Culture of the Ministry for Higher Education, Science and Culture; two members of the National Parliament; Ms Cedelizia F Dos Santos, Secretary General of the Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO; local government officials of the municipality of Baucau and UNESCO office Jakarta and Conoco Phillips.  Dr. Ai Sugiura, (Science) Policy Capacity Building Programme Specialist delivered brief remarks during the opening program on behalf of Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Jakarta. Dr. Sugiura conveyed Prof. Khan’s appreciation to the government of Timor-Leste for the continuing partnership with UNESCO as a whole and in particular with science and education sectors. UNESCO congratulated SESIM and all participants for the very successful event which raises awareness on how science education and science in general contributes to understand the world we live in a little bit better and to make our development a little bit more sustainable to deliver Agenda 2030. Finally UNESCO encouraged all participating students to continue studies and carriers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) with a special call for girls to take part actively in proposing science based solutions to our challenges.

This year again, the event fabulously celebrated World Science Day by getting bigger and bigger because of growing interest and enthusiasm of students and teachers with more participation to this very good way of promoting mathematics and science education in Timor-Leste.

Photo gallery.

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