Friday, November 28, 2014

Philippines: IRRI joins organizations in hosting study tour for the 6th National Biotechnology Education Conference for Teachers

A group of 36 teachers from different science high schools in Metro Manila, Cavite, Quezon, Laguna, Palawan, Camarines Sur, and Bulacan visited the laboratories and facilities at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Headquarters on 24 November as part of the 6th National Biotechnology Education Conference for Teachers (NBECT).

In addition to IRRI, the educators also visited the laboratories and facilities at National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and the Institute of Plant Breeding at University of the Philippines Los Banos. The tour also included film showings and discussions of issues related to biotechnology at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture. Two other collaborators for the study visit are the Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Program and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Diliman Foundation Inc.

NBECT is an activity held during the annual National Biotechnology Week commemorated on the last week of November. Now on its 10th  year, NBW is focusing on the promotion and advocacy on the safe and responsible use of modern biotechnology.

This year’s year theme,  Edukasyon sa Bioteknolohiya: Pagyamanin para sa kinabukasan natin, (Harnessing biotechnology education for the future) highlights the need to strengthen biotechnology education and encourage more young people to take science, specifically agriculture and biotechnology courses in college, and eventually become part of the next generation of experts and scientists. This mission begins with enhancing the awareness and appreciation of science educators, and updates them on the R&D efforts and products of international and national biotech research institutions in the country.

"Agriculture is not only about farming," said Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, deputy director general for communication and partnerships at IRRI, during his welcome address for the teachers who are first-time visitors at the Institute. "We should not only teach our children the science behind producing food, but encourage them to become scientists and experts, who will later develop better crops and help address the challenges of climate change."

IRRI also collaborated with the University of the Philippines League of Agricultural Biotechnology Students in conducting Mag-BIOTECH Ka Na (Let's Take Up Biotechnology) a forum for students about potential careers in the field of agricultural biotechnology. The forum featured Filipino scientists who discussed their journeys towards "intellectually fulfilling" and fun careers in science and agriculture.

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