To commemorate the World Science Day, UNESCO together with PTT Exploration and Production Plc. (PTTEP), Thailand supported a workshop entitled “Youths Empowering Youths: Ensuring Adaptation of High Schoolers for the New Normal”. The workshop was successfully organized by Thai Young Scientists Academy (TYSA), in conjunction with Uttaradit Daruni School, Uttaradit Rajabhat University, and National Science Museum Thailand (NSM) on 14 November 2020 at Uttaradit Daruni School, Uttaradit, Thailand. Twenty-five selected students from Uttaradit Daruni School and eight selected students from Uttaradit School have participated in the workshop.
The workshop aimed to find ways to maintain quality education of high school students, which is one of the most significant issues seen and emerged during COVID-19 pandemic situation. The facilitation during workshop employed creative problem-solving method to help students in identifying the challenges, generating the ideas to close the education gap, and developing the ideas further to apply to their daily lives. TYSA members encouraged high school students to address youth and the society’s challenges encountered around this new-normal era.
The high school students created six excellent projects. Half were ideas to address the issues arising from online learning, which may significantly impede the students’ performance and disrupt the overall educational development. Two of the proposed virtual reality technologies (VR) to help the students enjoy classes and conversations with their actual friends or AI friends. The rest proposed to have a consulting session between the teachers and the students to find the best way to keep the lectures alive. The other three projects were related to COVID-19 protective equipment. Two projects proposed ideas about masks from different angles: one was a mask with COVID-19 detection feature, the other was a mask with anti-acne technology. The last project was about a wristband with a GPS tracking system which can shorten the queue generated by QR code scanning before entering public facilities or department stores.
It can be seen from the proposed projects that the challenges faced by the high schoolers are not only about quality education but also about the extended issues on adaptation to the new norm. The selected projects will receive seed grants from PTT Exploration and Production Plc. (PTTEP), Thailand to start the project ideas implementation in daily life.
The workshop was organized by thoroughly following health protocols advised by the local authority. This activity contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, especially on Goal 4 (equality access on education), Goal 9 (to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation) and Goal 13 (strengthening resilience and capacity to disasters and improving disaster education).