Dr. Victoria B. Roman Memorial High School in the municipality of Pilar in Bataan Province has reason to be proud.
The school, which formally opened in 1998 with only two regular teachers and 46 first year high school students, ranked number 1 among more than 30 public high schools in the province, in the National Achievement Test (NAT) for Grade 10 in 2014 and 2015. It was the school’s first time to grab the top spot. Previously, the school ranked no. 7 out of 33 schools in the NAT.
Administered by the Department of Education, the NAT involves a set of standardized tests which assess students’ strengths, weaknesses, and achievement level in five major subjects. These include science and mathematics.
Chief Librarian Leilani Enopia believes that the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) STARBOOKS was a factor that brought about this landmark accomplishment.
STARBOOKS stands for Science and Technology Research and Academic-based Openly Operated Kiosks, the first digital science library in the Philippines. It has a user-friendly interface and needs no Internet connection. It contains tons of science and technology (S&T)-related materials in text, audio, and video formats from local and international sources.
Developed by experts from DOST’s Science and Technology Information Institute (STII), STARBOOKS is a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Library Program of the Year Award by the Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians. STARBOOKS also earned the approval of the international community when the prestigious American Library Association presented it with the American Library Association Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects in June 2015.
Dr. Victoria B. Roman Memorial High School became the proud owner of two STARBOOKS units in August 2014.
Since then, more students have been going to the school library to use STARBOOKS for their assignments, research, and projects, observed School Principal Felisa C. Bravo.
Grade 10 students Jillyn May N. Lagos and John Jeremy E. Desipida testifed that they do not have a single classmate who hasn’t yet used STARBOOKS. In fact, they said, sometimes a lot of them go to the library at once to use the kiosks that it gets almost crowded in the room.
John Jeremy agreed with Enopia that STARBOOKS did play a role in their no. 1 ranking in the NAT. “Naging helpful sa amin yung STARBOOKS kasi po yung mga hindi namin gaanong na-ta-tackle na nasasabi sa amin ng mga teacher namin, dyan na po namin sila nahahanap (STARBOOKS became helpful because through it, we were able to search for and read up on topics which our teachers told us about but which we did not tackle in class),” he said.
Jillyn also related that STARBOOKS helped her personally when she joined the Municipal Children’s Congress - Essay Writing in English Contest. To find the necessary information and prospective topic about children that she can tackle in her essay, Jillyn turned to STARBOOKS. She placed third out of eight participants from different public and private schools in the entire municipality of Pilar. Meanwhile, her schoolmate Darlene, who is in Grade 9, copped the second prize. Darlene also logged into STARBOOKS to help her develop her story.
The youngsters also turn to STARBOOKS to read up on topics not necessarily discussed in class, but which they are interested in. Jillyn, who wants to be an architect someday, reads up on architecture and watches videos about space. She also turns to cookery topics, not just for her lessons in Technology and Livelihood Education, but also to look for possible “merienda” dishes. Meanwhile, John Jeremy searches for information on simple programming as he wants to work in information technology. He shared that he was also able to use Britannica Ultimate Encyclopedia in STARBOOKS.
“Yung mga toggles niya po, madali pong intindihin. Lalo na po andun yung search bar niya, nasa gilid, mas kita po siya. And then pagbukas niyo po, makikita niyo sa bars kung video, o picture, o article yung bubuksan ninyo. Ma-p-print niyo din po lalo na kung mga articles at data (The toggles are easy to understand. Especially since the search bar is at the side, so it can be easily seen. And then, when you open it, you can see in the bars if what you are opening is a video, a picture, or an article. You can also print them, especially articles and data),” explained John Jeremy.
Jillyn added, “Hindi na kailangan ng pera para pumunta sa computer shop. Puwede na po rito sa library (You don’t need to have money to do research in a computer shop. You can do it right here in the library).”
However, it is not just the students of Dr. Victoria B. Roman Memorial High School who have benefited from STARBOOKS. It is a great research tool for the teachers and parents as well. Bravo said that when they acquired the two units in 2014, one of the school’s objectives was to get the students’ parents to rely on STARBOOKS for livelihood ideas. However, this was not achieved.
Livelihood videos, aptly called DOSTkarte livelihood videos, are also available in STARBOOKS. To augment its collection, the STII staff is currently processing livelihood videos from the former Technology Resource Center for inclusion in STARBOOKS.
This time however, Bravo is compelled to fulfill this objective especially with the recent upgrading of the two units in the school. So now, their STARBOOKS units contain the newest additions into the digital library: disaster preparedness materials, interactive courseware, and supplement materials for K-12. Apart from these, it also contains books, magazines, journals, scientific and research papers, Britannica Ultimate Encyclopedia, and many others related to science and technology.
“Magpapatawag po ako ng PTA para i-introduce ko po na STARBOOKS has been updgraded (I will call for a PTA meeting so I can introduce to them the upgraded version of STARBOOKS), and there are new info there which they can use to improve their lives,” said Bravo.
If the school succeeds with this goal, that would be another laurel reaped and another reason for Dr. Victoria B. Roman Memorial High School to be proud.
A portion of the school library
Chief Librarian Leilani Enopia (left) and School Principal Felisa C. Bravo beside one of the school’s two STARBOOKS units.
Grade 10 students Jillyn May N. Lagos and John Jeremy E. Desipida.
Robelyn Cruz of STII shows a library personnel the new additions of STARBOOKS.