Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, together with social investment arm Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), recently conducted online workshops that benefited 301 students and 55 teachers from 14 high schools nationwide under Shell NXplorers.
“The pandemic has caused us to adapt and re-calibrate Shell NXplorers for virtual learning, because we are committed to help build a nation of learners equipped with critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address vital issues, particularly those that anchor on ensuring food, water and energy security for all,” says Social Performance (SP) and Social Investment Manager Conrado Parizal.
“Pilipinas Shell continues to ensure that education, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), continues as we believe that solutions to current problems can be addressed by knowledge in these courses,” adds PSFI Program Officer for Education Monaleizl Dy.
As a global education initiative of Shell, the program was introduced to the Philippines in 2019 to help the youth, aged 14 to 19 years old, develop the skills, understanding and mindset to provide sustainable solutions to the major global challenges of our time, particularly the food-water-energy nexus issues.
By using an integrated approach to thinking, Shell NXplorers helps the youth develop a strong understanding of how processes that help produce and deliver high-quality food, cleaner energy, and safe and accessible water are all interconnected. Water generates power; energy treats and transports water; and both water and energy are needed to produce food.
For five days, trained facilitators worked with student participants and their teachers to apply a series of new tools to help them find creative solutions to challenges linked to food, water and energy that are relevant to them and their local communities.
Shell staff also offered their services as mentors under Shell’s volunteerism program ACTS (A Community That Serves).
Among them is Shell Global Robotics Theme Leader Adam Serblowski, who handled a mentorship session on drone farming with Team Agribon from Philippine Science High School – Cagayan Valley Campus (PISAY-CVC). PISAY CVC students are currently developing an agricultural drone that promotes ‘precision farming’ or the use of valuable metrics for efficient crop management.
“It is very fulfilling to be able to encourage students’ ideas, make them see its potential and grasp different ways on how to perceive problems. It’s also fascinating to see their creative personalities and talent during breakout sessions,” says Process Specialist for Facilities/Equipment and 2021 Shell NXplorers volunteer Michele Ramos.
“Shell NXplorers has created opportunities for our students and has sparked their interest to be involved in the world of discovery. The program has become an avenue to generate innovative ideas and benchmark each synthesis against the current state of things,” says Bansud Regional Science High School Teacher I Kevin Lester Macasa.
Oriental Mindoro National High School Grade 11 student Faye Oller says Shell NXplorers levels the playing field for all genders, where “through decision-making and creating solutions on societal problems, girls like me can also take lead and influence.”
Dy notes, though, that for partner schools in Batangas – Libjo and Tabangao Integrated School, the online workshop was their first experience on virtual learning. Both schools had resorted to modular learning upon the prohibition of in-classroom sessions.
She believes that despite the challenges encountered in conducting the workshop, the experience provided both teachers and students another form of learning that they might be able to adapt to their current situation.
Participants of Shell NXplorers go through the stages of exploration, creation, and change. Slated for the latter part of the year is “Shell NXplorers: The Bright Ideas Challenge (TBIC)”, a virtual competition challenging the high school students to showcase their Shell NXplorers projects.
To learn more about the program, please visit https://www.shell.com.ph/energy-and-innovation/make-the-future/what-is-nxplorers.html.