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Vol. XXVI, 4th Quarter
October – December 2008

Educators outline 1st RP science and math education framework

IN A BID TO IMPROVE the quality of science and mathematics education in the Philippines, educators from all over the country joined to assess the draft of the first science and mathematics education framework in the country.

Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute Director Ester B. Ogena said the framework, which the educators have drawn with SEI, is the first in the country. The framework is also a major step in efforts to develop a knowledge economy by defining the philosophy and directions for teaching and learning in science and mathematics considered critical in human resource capacity building of the country.

“The penultimate intention of knowledge economy is to contribute to human or people development. This may be hard to reach, but to attain this we need to ensure that the country stands on the four pillars of Knowledge Economy—Human Resource Capacity Building; Developing an Innovation System; Developing an ICT Infrastructure; and Providing for the Supportive Policies and Guidelines at all levels,” Ogena explained.

University of the Philippines-National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education Development Director Merle Tan also said the framework aims to expose learners to engaging, meaningful, challenging, and relevant experiences and for the teachers to be able to facilitate construction of knowledge from such experiences.

“School science should emphasize depth rather than breadth, coherence rather than fragmentation, and use of evidence in constructing explanations,” she said.

Salient features of the framework include the cohesiveness of inquiry skills, habits of minds, content and connections in the curriculum, and a developmental approach of learning from kindergarten to fourth year.

For the mathematics education framework, Dr. Catherine Vistro-Yu, former president of the Philippine Council of Mathematics Teacher Educators (MATHTED) said the framework aims to develop mathematical empowerment that focuses on critical and analytical thinking.

Significant features of the mathematics framework include varied approaches in teaching mathematics for kindergarten to grade 3, grade 4 to grade 6, and high school, and a set of competencies that should be achieved at each cluster.

Frameworks for both science and mathematics teacher education were also crafted to enable teachers to cope up with the changing needs of the learners in a rapidly changing environment.

Tan said that would-be science teachers would be required to take courses on Life Science, Physical Science, Environmental Science, and additional courses on science teaching.

“Similar courses have been offered in the UP College of Education in Diliman for many years and proved to be beneficial to pre-service

students when they do their off and in-campus training,” she said.

Meanwhile, Vistro-Yu said the mathematics teaching education framework aims to develop a fully competent mathematics teacher that possesses a strong mathematical content knowledge. The teacher should also be armed with mathematical pedagogical knowledge as well as general pedagogical knowledge and management skills, displays appropriate mathematical disposition, and values own professional development.

“In the hope of improving mathematics teaching in Philippine schools, this framework advocates continued efforts in the form of continuing programs for mathematics teachers’ professional development that allow mathematics teachers to grow from being novices to ones that are emerging, accomplished, and expert teachers.

This must be the aim of all teacher education programs in mathematics,” she said.

The frameworks were submitted to Department of Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, and Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro.

The panel of reactors to the frameworks includes DepEd Undersecretary Vilma Labrador, University of the Philippines-College of Mass Communications Dean Elena Pernia, and South East Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Education Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO-INNOTECH) Executive Director Erlinda Pefianco.