Despite the difficulties due to the social distancing that the country is experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Investigators by Nature program of the Industrial University of Santander has managed to reach the territory of influence of the Páramo de Santurbán to encourage children , girls and young people love for science, technology and innovation.
There are more than 230 students from seven educational institutions in the Province of Soto Norte who today benefit from the arrival of the didactic material designed by UIS researchers within the framework of this solidarity extension program that seeks to promote interest in science and knowledge through the exploration of different areas such as mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, applied technology, language and culture.
With this material at home, students will be able to learn and enjoy remotely and in the company of their families, each of the activities that will be offered to them from 20 research hotbeds that will be directed by five UIS research groups, including those that are the Center of Investigations in Catalysis, CICAT; the research group Culture and Narration in Colombia, CUYNACO; the research group, RADIOGIS; the HALLEY group of Astronomy and Aerospace Sciences and the group of Mathematical Education, EDUMAT.
This initiative has the backing of the Industrial University of Santander, through the Office of the Vice President for Research and Extension, in coordination with the Departmental Secretariat of Education and the rectors of the San Antonio Integrated College (California), the Agricultural Institute of Charta, the Francisco San Juan School (Suratá), the Camacho Carreño Integrated School (Suratá), the San Isidro de Cachirí Institute, the Luz de la Esperanza School (Berlin) and the San Juan Nepomuceno School (Vetas).
An effort to reach the children and young people of Santander
Complying with all the biosafety protocols proposed by the government authorities, during these days the Investigators by Nature program makes its journey through the municipalities of Suratá, Charta, Tona, California and Vetas, seeking to deliver to the homes of each of the participating children the scientific kits that were designed and prepared by the members of the UIS research groups.
Through this material and supported by virtual tools, future scientists from the Páramo de Santurbán will be able to learn about the minimum conditions for the existence of life on the planets and the importance of taking care of what we live in; build small mobile laboratories at home to develop scientific experiments, learn to solve problems from mathematical challenges, strengthen their reading and writing processes; and become the little superheroes and protectors of their ecosystem through the measurement and analysis of data such as water or soil quality.
Jennifer Grisales, a young promoter of the HALLEY group of Astronomy and Aerospace Sciences of the UIS, states that this experience of virtuality has been a great challenge both for children and for them as trainers, “as there are no academic precedents to create research hotbeds of remotely, we have had the opportunity to think about children and adolescents who are estranged from their schools but who have the desire to learn about research, develop their scientific skills and apply their knowledge in the environments in which they find themselves. That is why the challenge is to bring the University closer to the communities in the páramo that in most cases only have access to the radio or have limited access to the internet “
Each of the kits that are delivered to the different municipalities during these days, complied with a rigorous disinfection process to guarantee the safety and well-being of the participating children and families.
Sergio Andrés Rincón, a member of the CICAT Group and who accompanied the disinfection day, stated that each of the kits’ implements were subjected to ultra violet light (UVC germicidal lamps) to ensure that the surfaces and items sent were free of any viral agent. This technique, proposed by the University, has been implemented by different health centers and hospitals to provide a rapid and effective inactivation of the microorganisms that cause the pandemic. After this, the disinfected items were taken to a packing area where they were packed in heat-sealable bags to deliver to the students.
Professor Andrea Hernández Quirama, Director of Research and Extension of the Faculty of Human Sciences and director of the program, “the commitment and effort made by the research groups when adapting their proposals to the current conditions of social distancing, allows that from the University is promoted through the social appropriation of knowledge and the promotion of scientific vocations, the sustainability and defense of the ecosystem of the Santurbán páramo, a territory of vital importance in the region ”.
This solidarity outreach program that was born in 2019, has also been supporting the work of the professors of the institutions through the Training Research Diploma, with the coordination of the Center for Research in Culture and Society, CICS, of the UIS. At the beginning of this year, the face-to-face module of the program was successfully completed, in which more than 40 educators from the municipalities participated, who are now continuing a new cycle from virtuality.