On June 23, 2016, the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines, through the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division (MPSD), conducted the Forum on the Challenges and Opportunities in the Implementation of the K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Curriculum. Various stakeholders of the program, from the academe and public and private institutions, participated in the forum.
Academician William G. Padolina, member of MPSD, welcomed the participants and pointed out that "having the K-12 system in place does not exactly mean that there is no more room for improvement.” He acknowledges that “there is still work that needs to be done in addressing the challenges in implementation and in improving the system and the curriculum itself as we are already in the last phase of the transition period.”
Mr. Joseph R. Jacob, supervising education program specialist of the Bureau of Curriculum Development - Curriculum Standards Development Division, Department of Education (DepEd), discussed the current status of the K-12 STEM program. The reform in the curriculum intends to produce scientifically, environmentally, and technologically literate graduates with 21st century skills. Mr. Jacob explained that in ensuring the efficiency of the program, DepEd has conducted consultative meetings with concerned stakeholders in developing the science program curriculum and curriculum guides.
The spiral progression approach in the Philippine K-12 curriculum was discussed by Dr. Marlene B. Ferido, science education specialist V of National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development, University of the Philippines. According to Dr. Ferido, the common misconception about the spiral progression approach is that it is associated with the integrated approach in science. The spiral progression approach is a means to teach from the simplest concepts to the more complex ones through the revisiting of basic foundations as new concepts are tackled. This transition to the use of spiral progression approach was recognized to be difficult not only to students but also to teachers. Intensification of pre-service training for teachers which focuses on the understanding of the spiral progression approach is needed to address this concern.
Private and public high school teachers were also invited as discussants and shared their experiences and insights on the implementation of the K-12 curriculum in their respective institutions. The discussants were: Mr. Bonn Lester Floyd R. Cervantes of Makati High School, Mr. John Gabriel T. Bilog of Ateneo de Manila Senior High School, and Ms. Ana Jamille A. Restubog of San Francisco High School. Dr. Ramon R. Miranda, former executive director of the Philippine Science High School Systems, served as a reactor of the forum.
Being in the front line, the discussants raised their concern on how to properly implement the program, issues such as, addressing the teachers training needs, ability to adjust with the current set-up, and capacity building, were tackled. These were acknowledged to be significant in sustaining the program. The discussants shared that in their respective schools, sharing of teaching styles among themselves are their primary means of dealing with the teaching-related changes in the curricula. It was also shared that some students enroll in the STEM strand even if their skills do not match with the requirement of the strand. With this, the concern on formulating a mechanism for screening students enrolling in the different tracks was also raised.
Dr. Miranda reacted on the risk of assuming that specialized teacher could readily teach in other fields when training is still needed. Student learning in the K-12 STEM program must be the major concern above all. Dr. Miranda challenged the participants to assess and reflect on their teaching practices, policies, and resources as to how these make students learn effectively.
Academician Fortunato B. Sevilla III, member of MPSD, was the moderator and master of ceremonies.
ACD. WILLIAM G. PADOLINA
Member, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division
National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines
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