22.11.2016 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

World Science (and Mathematics!) Day 2016, Timor-Leste

UNESCO Office Jakarta, cluster office for Timor Leste, and Conoco Philipps supported the celebration of UNESCO World Science Day for Peace and Development (WSD) in cooperation with the Centre for the Study of Science and Mathematics (SESIM) within the Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO on 10 – 11 November 2016 in the outskirt area of Dili, Timor-Leste.

More than 402 students and teachers from nine junior high schools from seven districts and two senior high schools from two districts of Timor-Leste participated to this two days camping event and contributed to its success. The celebration included: 1) a hands-on science and mathematics experiment (pratika) competition, 2) seminars on a wide range of subjects such as oil extraction, identifying rocks, and reproductive health seminars delivered by eleven department from six local educational institutions including local universities, and 3) a science exposition with more than 50 presenters.

Prior to the celebration, an open invitation to enter the annual pratika competition was extended by SESIM to all science and mathematics teachers of junior high and high schools in the country. Each team would count four students and one teacher and would prepare a hands-on science or mathematic experiment or demonstration with the goals for students to get familiarized to scientific methodology and demonstrate them how science and mathematics can help understanding our world and generate innovative solutions. Among all entries, 28 finalists were selected and invited to present their experiment or demonstration at the WSD celebration science camp. These finalists’ schools received cash prize and a set of tools and equipment for future pratika. 

Picture 1 Students preparing their demonstration pratika

On 10 November 2016, in order to prepare the finalists for the next day big exhibition, four expert judges in the areas of mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry challenged each finalist team about the innovativeness of their pratika, the science behind, the consistency of the scientific methodology followed and the quality of students’ explanation and understanding. In such engagement, the judges provided insights and advice to the teams on how to clearly explain and elaborate science concepts in a better and concise manner to be good science communicators. In the afternoon of Thursday, 10 November 2016, representatives from 15 local institutions, including universities and educational organizations, presented seminars in the areas of science and mathematics. Topics included petroleum extraction, rock and soil types, reproductive health, industrial design, and civil engineering. In the evening, short science films were shown followed by a campfire during which students got the opportunity to befriend students from different part of the countries.

The final day, 11 November 2016, all competing teams presented their pratika activities to the science competition open to public. Then the official program was opened by a welcome speech from Ms. Angelina Sarmento, Secretary General of Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO. She underlined that even though Timor-Leste might not be as advanced as neighbouring countries in terms of teaching and learning science and mathematics but in terms of basic knowledge, Timor-Leste could compete for instance by using basic and simple things and materials to apply and learn the basic principle of mathematics and science. She noted neighbouring countries were even curious about Timorese methodologies as these are really the basic things. Furthermore, she added she felt very much encouraged to see that a lot of girls are participating in this camp, competing with the boys and she hopes that in the future, there will be more girl scientists in Timor-Leste”.  

Picture 2 DG Liete judging junior and high schools experiment and demonstration at the Science Competition

The guest of honour, Mr. Cidalio Liete, Director General of Basic Education, Ministry of Education, Timor-Leste, official representative of the Minister of Education delivered his key address. He said: “I am very much delighted and encouraged to see that a lot of you can confidently explain how your chosen experiments work and can convince us how the basic principles of science and mathematics work. This is a manifestation that indeed, Timorese are smart, intelligent and showed that you can become a very good scientists of Timor-Leste. I am very appreciative and thankful for all the students that participated in this science and mathematics camp and in particular, congratulate all the teachers who supported the students. The teachers are very important in shaping the students to become future scientist and I give recognition to your role in teaching mathematics and science.”

Mr. Jose Lobato Goncalves, Country Director of Conoco Phillips expressed his warm greetings to all participants. He was very pleased to take part in the event. also because Conoco Phillips had been supporting Timor-Leste National Commission of UNESCO and Ministry of Education specifically for this event. He noted that Conoco Phillips is into oil exploration to contribute to the economy of Timor-Leste but the most important resource of Timor-Leste is water and it is good that students are learning how to deal with water in the future as he saw a number of experiments related to water. Finally, he encouraged the students to think and investigate on how to discover the varied uses of water for the future.

UNESCO Office Jakarta was represented by Dr. Ai Sugiura, Research Analyst for Modelling and Technical Outreach. On behalf of the Director and Representative UNESCO Jakarta Office, organisers, students and teachers were congratulated for this successful WSD celebration. It was conveyed UNESCO will continue to support the enhancement of science and mathematics education in Timor-Leste. Finally, Dr. Ai Sugiura said that she was amazed by the quality of the pratika and she is hoping and looking forward for those students to continue science related studies and become the future scientists of Timor-Leste. As an engineer and scientist herself, she also highly encouraged the girls to pursue science carriers.

Picture 3 “Model of the human circulatory system” presented by Secondary High School, ESC. São Pedro, Dili”

Finally, “Favourite Prizes” from judges, donors, guest of honour, Timor-Leste UNESCO National Commission for UNESCO and UNESCO Office Jakarta were awarded to nine various teams as follows:

  1. “Plastic cups as combustible fuel” presented by Secondary High School, ESC. São Pedro, Dili, selected by Director General of Basic Education, Ministry of Education.
  2. “Model of the human circulatory system” presented by Secondary High School, ESC. São Pedro, Dili selected by Secretary Executive of Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO.
  3. “Water Filtration System” presented by Junior High School, EBC. Teulale, Baucau, selected by Country Manager ConocoPhilips Timor-Leste.
  4. “Water Fountain” presented by Junior High School, EBC. Fatumeta, Dili and selected by External Relations Officer ConocoPhillips Timor-Leste.
  5. “Social battery from banana skin” presented by Secondary High School, ESC. São Pedro, DIli selected by UNESCO Office Jakarta.
  6. “Pump without using electrical energy” presented by Junior High School, EBC. Fatumeta, Dili, selected by Physics lecturer, UNTL.
  7. “Geometric Spaces” presented by Junior High School, EBC Leusari, Lauterm and selected by Mathematics specialist, Ministry of Education.
  8. “Reutilizing materials” presented by Secondary High School, ESP. No. 1 Maliana, selected by Biology lecturer, UNTL.
  9. “A simple water pump” presented by Junior High School EBC Fatumeta, Dili selected by Curt Gabrielson, Avisor SESIM.

The event ended with selected science demonstrations like SESIM’s new explosive volcano model.

UNESCO Jakarta awarded experiment “Social battery”, recycling battery with banana peel.


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