ChemStart: Looking Back
|Rev. William Schmitt, S.J. and Amando Kapauan,|
my mentors at the Ateneo
|Figure taken from http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/|
|Figure taken from http://www.middleschoolchemistry.com/lessonplans/chapter6/lesson8|
|Styrofoam-toothpick model of face-centered cubic system|
Figure taken from http://www.strangematterexhibit.com/demoworks_final.pdf
Teaching is indeed a difficult task. Amando Kapauan, who was my instructor in several chemistry classes, used to quote Charles Schultz' Charlie Brown, "How can we be wrong when we're so sincere?". He emphasized both inside and outside the classroom that we should aspire for both competence and commitment. Teaching does involve a great deal of sacrifice. But Kapauan insisted that it was not just a matter of self-giving, but as equally important, having something to give. Competence is a must. With the problems Philippine basic education faces, the words of Kapauan are of great significance. Quality of instruction depends on both competence and commitment from teachers. Herein lies the reason why addressing higher education first is key to solving problems in primary and secondary schools.
Castro said that the teachers will be teaching 6 hours per day, or 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon. Each class will be composed of 45 students.
“Each of these teachers will receive an honorarium of P6,000 per month, which is way below the minimum wage”, Castro notes.
Kindergarten is the first year of the new DepEd K to 12 curriculum, yet, its implementation last year was very poor. Kindergarten, as a gateway to formal schooling, is full year and not a couple of months. Hiring volunteers to teach children in kindergarten shows how seriously (or not) DepEd views early childhood education. The honorarium paid to these volunteers likewise provides an impression to all of how much society views teachers in kindergarten. The continued exploitation of early childhood teachers hurts the teaching profession and does not help in attracting talent to this much needed component of basic education. Kindergarten is perhaps the least controversial element of the new DepEd K to 12 curriculum and DepEd continues to do a very poor job in this area. There is no reason to expect that the implementation of the other elements will be better than dismal. DepEd is simply creating additional problems to the basic education in the Philippines and delivering empty promises on improving quality.
I would like to end this journey in the past with excerpts from a recent report from the World Bank. In "Putting Higher Education to Work" (World Bank report):
"....Pervasive lack of human capacity in higher education makes it hard to respond to labor market demand. The lack of qualified human resources has widespread implications for the relevance and quality of higher education, all the way from curriculum design to teaching and to research, also affecting the quality and quantity of university-industry links....
Academic faculty has a critical role in skill provision. First, they train future primary, secondary, and tertiary teachers who in turn shape the quality and relevance of the entire national education system. Second, they provide skills to future high-level research, technical, managerial, and administrative personnel who will lead government, business, and industry. Third, they are key incubators of the innovation and creativity that will enhance national productivity and competitiveness. Lower- and middle-income East Asia are suffering from two main faculty-related constraints: higher and growing student-to-faculty ratios, and a low share of faculty with graduate degrees....
....About 53 percent of the faculty in Indonesia lacks master's degrees, as does 60 percent in the Philippines....This is in contrast with Korea; Mongolia; Taiwan, China; and Thailand, which have more than 70 percent of faculty with at least a master's degree....
....The Philippines is the weakest TIMSS performer among the tested Asian countries....countries with a higher TIMSS score in math and science have higher STEM enrollment shares in tertiary education later. The relation may be even clearer if one considers the quality of these STEM skills (as seen in the poor quality of engineers in several countries). A similar relation holds between TIMSS scores and journal publications: higher TIMSS scores are associated with more publications....
....Increasing the number of tertiary institutions in a sending country with a low skill-price increases outbound migration of tertiary students, whereas improving the quality of domestic tertiary institutions decreases student migration. This is likely the result of the higher number of college graduates increasing the number of workers who would benefit from migrating to high skill-price countries. But higher quality retains students in country...."