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Thomasian engineers launch contact tracing equipment innovation

The project was developed by EEnovatics, under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – TOMASinno Center, whose goal is to make contract tracing “reliable and efficient.” 

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Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E and (from left to right) Gabriel Suarez, Engr. Souichi Takahama, Andrea Pauline de Guzman, and Amira Malipol at the D’Banquet Restaurant in Tagaytay City.

Filling out details in contact tracing forms repeatedly could be tiresome, but with Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E, this could be easy as one tap away. 

Behind the project are two Thomasian alumni, Engr. Souichi Takahama and Andrea Pauline de Guzman, who launched a full contactless contact tracing equipment with a one-time registration for a QR code I.D.

According to Takahama, Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E (Buildings and Establishments Automated Temperature Reading Integrated Contact Tracing Equipment) will also address some contact tracing lapses such as incomplete forms, long queues at entrances, lack of centralized contact tracing solutions, and inaccessibility to smartphones and internet of some citizens. 

“[I] started thinking of a way to fix this problem of people having to either write manually or scan a QR everytime on their smartphones, having the door attendant of establishment to be exposed to people, and how to make digital contact tracing available to everyone may it be young or old, with internet or not, with smartphones or not,” Takahama told TomasinoWebyesterday, April 9.

The project was developed by EEnovatics, under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – TOMASinno Center, whose goal is to make contract tracing “reliable and efficient.” 

“We have this goal to implement this project to each and every establishment to provide a fast, reliable and efficient contact tracing for the safety and ease to the people entering establishments,” Takahama said. 

“By having a dedicated contact tracing equipment in every building as a long term solution to what we currently face today, we could quickly stop the spread with contact tracing of the present and future possible outbreak,” he added. 

According to Takahama, implementing Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E during the pandemic was not easy due to several restrictions and limited resources. 

The financial issues were also a setback for the team. They, however, got a sponsorship from a Tagaytay restaurant owner.

“[The] major challenge we are now facing is the need of financial support for us to really boost this project and to develop it further,” he said. “And seeking for investment, grants or financial aid is not easy.”

“Now with the help of a sponsor who owns a restaurant [and] provided support to our team, we were able to deploy and develop one working unit which is currently at the D’Banquet Restaurant in Tagaytay City,” he added. 

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Parents’ perception, needs and practices affect children’s reading development—English profs

 “It is a challenge among low-income families to increase literacy rate because of the fact that they cannot prioritize buying books and other instructional materials to teach their children reading and other school-related tasks,” the researchers wrote.

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A study by Assoc. Prof. Rosalyn Mirasol and Asst. Prof. Katrina Ninfa Topacio showed that a child's reading development is affected by the priority of each family, income, access to reading materials at home, and the influence of the environment.

Children’s reading development is affected by the priority of each family, income, access to reading materials at home, and the influence of the environment, a study said.

In their research titled “Reading perceptions, needs, and practices among parents of an urban poor community in the Philippines,” Assoc. Prof. Rosalyn Mirasol and Asst. Prof. Katrina Ninfa Topacio from the Department of English found that one’s home environment influences children’s reading development, as they find schooling easier and meaningful when exposed to reading activities at home.

“Literacy-rich environment have become motivated readers posit a challenge not only the educative sector of the community but more importantly, the parents who should respond to the natural law by providing adequate support especially on education and the upbringing to their children,” the researchers wrote.

According to the study, literacy contributes to the social and economic development of a country as the success of the industries relies on education. However, most families have limited resources and budget for reading materials, making it at the bottom of their priorities despite their positive views on the importance of education and reading.

 “It is a challenge among low-income families to increase literacy rate because of the fact that they cannot prioritize buying books and other instructional materials to teach their children reading and other school-related tasks,” Mirasol and Topacio wrote.

94 of every 100 Filipinos 5 years old and over are basic literate while about 91.6 percent Filipinos 10 to 64 years old are functional literate, according to the results of the 2019 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS).

274 parents of K-1 pupils from an urban poor community in Manila, Philippines were surveyed to determine their reading perceptions, needs, and practices.

The study was published at Taylor & Francis Online on June 21, 2021.

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Science dean on 2021 Outstanding Young Scientist award: ‘Dreams do come true’

“I hope that more young Filipinos would consider a career in science. We need a critical mass of scientists to cover many uncharted disciplines or sub-disciplines in the sciences,” Science dean Rey Donne Papa said.

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Science dean Rey Donne Papa is one of the recipients of the prestigious 2021 Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS). Photo grabbed from the UST Biology Society.

For UST College of Science dean Rey Donne Papa, the conferment of the prestigious 2021 Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award is both a dream and a challenge to conduct quality research in the field of biology.

“It is also a proof that dreams do come true,” Papa said in a statement. 

“This award is a validation that the scientific community in the Philippines sees the value of the researches I had been able to conduct since I started my career,” he added. 

The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) announced on June 3 the full list of Filipino scientists who bagged the award, which is given among those who have “made significant contributions to science and technology.”

But for Papa, it wasn’t just merely a dream come true— it was also a noble yet difficult challenge.

“This award also serves as a challenge for me to be able to continue to do good quality researches in the field of freshwater biology,” he said.

Specializing in limnology or the study of inland freshwaters, Papa led the Zooplankton Ecology, Systematics and Limnology research group of the university and has been studying different freshwater ecosystems in the country.

The need for more young scientists

Highlighting the need for future Filipino scientists, Papa continued: “[A]nd in the process mentor more students in order to further build up the number of freshwater scientists in the country,”

“I hope that more young Filipinos would consider a career in science. We need a critical mass of scientists to cover many uncharted disciplines or sub-disciplines in the sciences,” he said in an interview with Pinoy Scientists.

Having collaborated with local and international scientists, Papa believed that all sciences are important and that it is essential to nation-building. 

“As science and national development go together, a scientifically literate society would also be a sure indicator of future economic prosperity for our country,” he said.

Papa, who is the first Filipino representative to the International Society of Limnology, also stressed the importance of academic publishing, and at the same time encouraged science undergraduates to “aim for quality research outputs.” 

He is set to officially join the list of Thomasian scientists — which includes, Alicia Aguinaldo, Christina Binag, Allan Patrick Macabeo, Bernard John Tongol, Mario Tan, John Donnie Ramos, Grecebio Jonathan Alejandro, and Thomas Edison Dela Cruz — awarded with OYS on July 15.

 

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UST master’s programs among Eduniversal 2021 Best Masters Rankings

The ranking of the universities are based on the following criteria: reputation of the program, salary of the first employment, and students’ satisfaction.

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Four of the UST Graduate School’s master’s programs earned recognition from the Eduniversal’s list of “Best Master and MBA programs in 2021.” 

Among the Eduniversal-acknowledged programs of the University are MS Human Resource Management, MA Communication, MA Economics, and MA Public Administration.

UST’s MS Human Resource Management program ranked 20th in Far East Asia, joined by the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman’s Master of Industrial Relations and De La Salle University’s MS Industrial Relations Management and Diploma in Industrial Relations, ranking 14th and 9th respectively.

Meanwhile, the MA Communication program of the University grabbed the 30th spot 

in Far East Asia along with La Salle’s Master of Marketing Communications, which ranked 18th, and UP Diliman’s MA Communication program, which ranked 14th. 

The University’s MA Economics program secured the 30th spot in Far East Asia while having UP Diliman’s Master in Development Economics program in the 25th place and La Salle’s Master in Applied Economics in the 22nd place.

UST’s MA Public Administration program also took the 40th place while UP Diliman’s Master in Public Administration placed 28th.

The ranking of the universities are based on the following criteria: reputation of the program, salary of the first employment, and students’ satisfaction.

Eduniversal is a global ranking and evaluation agency headquartered in Paris that focuses on appraising academic institutions and programs in France since 1994 and overseas since 2007. 

It lined UST among the top 1000 universities globally that cater to business-related degrees and courses.

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