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Bella Marinas

Estimated population (1996) 282,000 (1)
Basic education in the Philippines
ppines is composed of six
Public expenditure on education 3.4 years of elementary and four years of secondary education
as a percentage of gross national or a total of ten years, one of the shortest in the world.
product (1997) Within ten years, Filipino youth complete basic education
at the age of 16 or 17 years. They then proceed to institu-
Duration of compulsory 10 (2) tions of higher learning, to obtain a degree or a certificate
education (years) from a post-secondary vocational/technical
/technical institution, or
enter the world of work. Basic education in the Philip-
Primary or basic education pines is free at both levels but compulsory at the elemen-
tary level only.
Pupils enrolled (1997) 12,159,495
2,159,495 On the basis of funding, schools are either govern-
Teachers (1996) 341,183 ment-supported or privately funded. The number of gov-
Pupil/teacher ratio 18:1 ernment schools in the elementary level is 91% of the total
number and 60% in the secondary level.
Gross enrolment ratio (1997) The school year in the Philippines begins on the first
—Total 117 Monday of June and ends on the last Friday of March the
—Male — following year. The school year for the elementary and
—Female — secondary levels runs from Monday through Friday, con-
sists of not less than 40 weeks or 200 days, and is divided
Estimated percentage of repeaters 2 into four grading periods.
(1985) In the Philippine education system, the central office
Secondary education forms policy and sets standards that are implemented by
the regional and division offices. Supervision of schools,
Students enrolled (1997) 4,979,795 therefore, is the function of the regional and sub-regional
Gross enrolment ratio (1997)
—Female — Curriculum development at the basic education level is
Third-level enrolment ratio 29 the responsibility of the Bureaux of Elementary and Sec-
(1995) ondary Education, Curriculum Development Divisions at
the Central Office. The bureaux define the learning com-
Estimated adult literacy rate petencies for the different subject areas, conceptualize the
(2000) structure of the curriculum and formulate national curric-
—Total 95 ular policies. These functions are exercised in consulta-
—Male 95 tion with other agencies and sectors of society, e.g.
—Female 95 industry, socio-civic groups, teacher training institutions,
professional organizations, school administrators, par-
Note: in each
ch case the figure given is the last year avail- ents, students and other stakeholders.
able. The subject offerings, credit points and time allot-
Sources: All data taken from UNESCO statistical year- ments for the different subject areas are determined at the
book, 1999, Paris, UNESCO,CO, 1999, with the exception national level. In this sense, there exists in the Philippines
of (1) Population Division, Department for Economic a national curriculum. Schools, however, are given the op-
and Social Information and Policy Analysis of the tion to make modifications/adaptations on the curriculum
United Nations and (2) World data on education, Paris, (e.g., content, sequence and teaching strategies) to ensure
UNESCO,CO, 2000. that the curriculum responds to local concerns. Table 1

shows who is doing what in science and technology cur- ways and means of doing things. (Bureau of Elementary
riculum development. Education, 1998)
The programme at the basic education level sets out to The Secondary Science Education Programme aims to
meet the needs of the students and society as a whole. The develop understanding of concepts and key principles of
curriculum is designed to ensure that the student upon grad- science, science processes, skills and desirable values to
uation from a secondary school will be able to learn more make the students scientifically literate, productive and
independently, acquire academic excellence, and develop effective citizens
zens (Bureau of Secondary Education, 1998).
the capability to cope with new knowledge and technology. These objectives are contained in the preface for the
On the other hand, elementary schools prepare students to learningg competencies.
cope with the challenges of secondary education.
Science is one of the subject areas in the elementary 2. Curriculum plan
and secondary education curricula. Science and health is
The approach to curriculum design in the country is con-
offered forty minutes daily from grade I at the elementary
tent-topic-based and competency-based. The school chil-
level. In the secondary level, it is offered as science and
dren are expected to master a list of competencies at the
technology and is taken eighty minutes daily.
end of each grade/year level and at the end of elementary/
Since there is no streaming, or grouping of students
secondary schooling. The Bureaux of Elementary and
according to their intellectual capacity, at the higher
Secondary Education develop, publish, and issue to the
levels of secondary school, there are science schools or
field the learning competencies.
schools with science and technology-oriented classes/
The content in science and health is organized in in-
sections. Following are brief descriptions of these
creasing complexity from grade I to grade VI, in cate-
gories on people, animals, plants (and environment),
l The Engineering
gineering and Science Education Project (ES- matter (mixture and solutions, physical/chemical
EP) was a project of the Department of Science and change, materials at home), energy, Earth, and the sun
Technology (DOST)OST) funded by World Bank through (the solar system, beyond the solar system). In second-
which science and technology classes were organized ary school, science includes general science (first year),
in 1100 secondary schools. These schools also received biology (secondary year), chemistry (third year) and
a two-room science laboratory, science equipment, physics (fourth year). To provide for additional compe-
and scholarship grants for the teachers, and imple- tencies for fast learners, enrichment is added in some
mented a science and technology-enriched curricu- topics (BSE,
BSE, 1998).
l The Philippine Science High School System is a net-
3. Teaching methods and learning activities
work of seven secondary schools funded by DOST ST im-
plementing a science and technology-enriched The curriculum plan does not include teaching methods
curriculum with a highly selective admission process. for the teachers. It is in the teacher’s manuals or guides
l The sixteen Regional Science High Schools supervised that higher-level content and suggestions for teaching and
by the Department of Education, Culture and Sport assessing instruction are included. Being able to plan and
(DECS)) offer a science-enriched curriculum, similar to use the appropriate teaching-learning activities are chal-
that of the Philippine Science High Schools. lenges to the creativity of the teachers.
l A Learning Resource Center is established in six sec- Learning materials such as textbooks, supplementary ma-
ondary schools. This was a joint project of the local terials and science equipment are provided. Learning ac-
government unit and US Agency for International De- tivities are not confined to the classrooms.
velopment (USAID). ). The schools, like the 110 ESEP
schools, have two or more classes per year level offer- 4. Evaluation and examination
ing a science and technology-oriented curriculum. One of the subject areas tested in the nationally adminis-
tered National Elementary Achievement Test (NEAT)
1. Aims and objectives and the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT) is
The government recognizes the importance of developing science. These examinations are based on the learning
its science and technology capability
bility as a means of ad- competencies and are administered towards the end off the
dressing the concerns of industrialization and globaliza- school year. The results serve as bases for policy formula-
tion. The education sector, along with other government tion and educational reforms.
agencies, is tasked to contribute to the achievement of the Examinations are also administered to a sample by the
national development goals. As such, DECS CS has focused regional and divisional offices. School-based assessment
its efforts towards programmes and projects aimed at im- is conducted to determine performance and/or achieve-
proving English, science, and mathematics education in ment of the students in science and to report progress to
basic education. parents and other officials.
The objectives of elementary and secondary school
At the end of grade VI, the child is expected to apply sci- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
entific knowledge and skills in identifying and solving
problems pertaining to health and sanitation; nutrition; Problems
oblems in teaching science and technology are encoun-
food production, preparation and storage; environment tered in curriculum, learning materials, teachers, and stu-
and the conservation of its resources; and evolving better dent performance.

TABLE 1. Who is doing what in curriculum development?


AIMS AND OBJECTIVES Formulates and determines educational Formulates and determines specific Formulates the vision, mission and
aims and objectives that support vision, mission and objectives of the objectives of the school.
national development goals. region/division or district.
Determines specific cognitive, affective and
psychomotor instructional aims and

CURRICULUM PLAN Develops national education policies, Monitors the implementation and Implements budget of work based on
standards and programmes for adaptation of educational programmes learning competencies.
curriculum implementation. suited to regional and provincial needs
and cultures. Modifies/adapts the S&T programme to
Formulates learning competencies. learners of different needs, cultures and

METHODS AND APPROACHES Conducts research/studies on Conducts teacher-training programmes Uses appropriate methodologies and
TO TEACHING innovative approaches and recommends on strategies found to be effective. innovative approaches.

effective ones.
Conducts research, trial and Employs activities that enhance lifelong and
Recommends strengthening of and demonstrations on new methodologies life-wide competencies.
continued use of effective methods. for teachers.

MATERIALS Exercises control over evaluation and Supervises the selection and Procures materials based on approved list.
distribution of textbooks and other distribution of instructional materials to
instructional materials. divisions and schools. Supervises the use of instructional materials
by learners and teachers.
Ensures the availability and adequacy
of instructional materials. Adopts indigenous learning materials.

EVALUATION AND Formulates policies based on nationally Conducts supervisory visits. Administers formative and summative tests;
EXAMINATION administered examinations. uses results to improve teaching/learning
Provides technical assistance.
Conducts studies/research on student Makes report of student performance to
performance. Monitors achievement level of students parents and school officials.
within region/division/district through
administration of tests.
1. On the curriculum l The Project
ject in Basic Education (PROBE), funded by
the Australian Agency for International Development
Teachers often complain that the curriculum is over-
(AusAID) supported the improvement of instruction
crowded and that they are not able to finish the content in
in science and mathematics. The project promoted the
certain year levels and there are not enough teaching-
creation of teacher support units for both pre-service
learning materials. Some teachers complain some topics
and in-service teacher training, and the development
are too difficult to teach (Nebres & Vistro-Yu, 1998).
of curriculum and teacher support materials.
Concern also has been expressed about the placement l The National Science Teaching and Instrumentation
of science subjects in the curriculum. Earth science, for Center, a project with the German government,
example, is offered in the first year, although it requires produces prototype science equipment that is mass-
knowledge about concepts in chemistry and physics that produced and provided to public schools.
are taken up in higher year levels. Another example is
l Science teachers may upgrade their competencies
chemistry (third year) and physics (fourth year). There are
through the Continuing Science Education via Tele-
increasing suggestions that the courses be reversed be-
vision (CONSTEL),
TEL), which is evolving into Continu-
cause of the perception that chemistry is more difficult
ing Studies in Education via Television, a joint
than physics (Mendoza, 1998).
project of DECS, DOST, PTV4 V4 (the government TV
station), University of the Philippines’ Institute for
2. On learning materials Science and Mathematics Education Development
Learning materials such as booksks and science equipment (UP-ISMED) and the Foundation to Upgrade rade the
are either unavailable or inadequate in many schools. Standards of Education (FUSE). The project will
Also, very few schools have science laboratories. soon include teaching episodes in English and math-
Concern also has been expressed that teachers’ manu- ematics.
als, intended to help teachers teach more effectively, are
3. On teachers Science centres
tres are good venues for enhancing a sense of
In science, because of the shortage of science teachers in curiosity and discovery among students. Through a well-
general, and majors in certain science disciplines in partic- co-ordinated programme of lectures and experiments in
ular, a science teacher may be hired to teach a science sub- their classrooms and regular visits to the science centres
ject that is not his major. Thus, a teacher must be multi- for more instrument-intensive experiments or demonstra-
skilled to teach all science disciplines. But that is not the tions, young students may become more excited about the
reality (Mendoza, 1998). Even teachers in science high wonders of science and the logic of mathematics (Nebres
schools find difficulty in teaching the integrated way & Intal, 1998).
(Reyes, 1998). Visits to manufacturing companies and industrial sites
Future science teachers graduate from pre-service pro- also provide students with on-site knowledge and experi-
grams, yet few are competent enough to actually teach ences of the various applications of science concepts and
their subjects
bjects (Nebres & Vistro-Yu, 1998). corresponding technologies.
Science fairs/camps, product promotion by manufac-
4. On student performance turers, and industries and competitions provide students
with alternative venues to present their investigatory and
Various assessments and surveys report downward
wnward trends research projects.
in students’ performance in science. The results are con-
sistent, but a major concern is whether such results are
used as a starting point when new programmes and activ- VI. CONCLUDING STATEMENT
ities in science and mathematics education are organized. Education
ion officials, especially those involved in science
In particular, it is not clear whether teachers are informed education, have a lot to do to raise the quality of science
of the results of assessments (Nebres & Vistro-Yu,Yu, 1998). and technology education in the country. It is notable that
government and non-government organizations have de-
IV. RECENT REFORMS IN SCIENCE vised inter-agency programmes and projects to improve
HNOLOGY EDUCATION science and technology education. Curricular review of
the science and technology programmes in both levels is
Recent reforms
forms in science and technology education are on-going. Summer teacher training programmes are fo-
the products of foreign-assisted projects implemented in cused on science and technology.
the country to improve instruction in science. Among The DECS registers its appreciation to the DOST, par-
these are: ticularly the Science Education Institute for its programmes
l The Science and Mathematics Education Manpower on science and technology manpower development and for
Development Program (SMEMDP) of the Japan Bank promoting science and technology culture. Appreciation
for International Co-operation advocated the Practical also goes to the University of the Philippines’ Institute for
Work Approach (PWA) in teaching science and math- Science and Mathematics Education Development for in-
ematics. The programme focused on the training of service teacher and materials development. They are
elementary and secondary teachers on PWA and the DECS’ partners in the quest for quality science and tech-
development of appropriate instructional materials. nology education.

Galang, C. 1998. Roundtable discussion for the National ro Manila, SEI- Department of Science and Technol- hnol-
Science and Mathematics
matics Education Congress on Ma- ogy.
terials and Methods in Basic Education and In-Service Nebres, B.F. & Vistro-Yu, C.P. 1998. A look at organiza-
Teacher Training in Science and Mathematics (1960- tional structure for an effective delivery of science ed-
8), held at UP-ISMED on September 15, 1998.
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Materials and Methods in Basic Education and In- ——. 1998. Philippine secondary schools learning com-
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