Chemical Education in Asia-Pacific


Ma. Cristina D. Padolina

University of the Philippines, Open University

Marcelita C. Magno

University of the Philippines, Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development, Diliman, Quezon City, the Philippines

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The Philippines is an archipelago in the South East Asian region. It comprises some 7100 islands clustered into three big groups, namely Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The highly fragmented physiogeography of the country and its long history even before the coming of the Spanish colonizers in 1521 accounted for the large number of Philippine indigenous languages. At present, Filipino linguists estimate that there are about 100 - 150 such indigenous languages spoken in the islands, all belonging to the Austronesian family of languages. The 1960 Philippine Census listed only 75 Philippine indigenous languages. More than 90 % of the population, however, speak eight major languages given in Table 1. In addition, there are speakers of about 10 foreign languages which include English, Spanish, Chinese, German etc. Because of language diversity in the country, language in educa-tion has always been a controversial issue.

Table 1. Major Indigenous Languages in the Philippines









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1.1. Education during the Spanish Time (1521 - 1899)

For more than two centuries during Spanish time, there was no formal system of education in the Philippines. The only form of education available to most Filipinos was the Sunday school catechism. The first book of learning was the caton, a primer on the Roman alphabet, some prayers, and basic Christian teachings. The early schools called colegios and escuelas were mostly pri-mary schools for sons of ruling native families. One such school was Colegio de Ninos, established in 1596. Other schools offered secondary education only for children of Spaniards. These were closed to Filipinos for about two hundred years.

The first academic degree holders from a Philippine school were graduates of a philosophy course from the Jesuits' Colegio de Manila, established in 1595. This colegio was closed when the Jesuits were expelled from the islands in the 18th century. University of Sto. Tomas, still a thriving university at present, began as a Dominican grammar school called Colegio de Nuestro Senora del Rosario. It was renamed Colegio de Santo Tomas and became a school of higher studies in 1611. It was given the status of academia in 1645 by decree of the Pope.

Boys and girls went to separate schools. The subjects taken in boys' school were grouped under arts and grammar. Grammar included Christian doctrine, Spanish, Latin, literature and rhetoric, good manners and hygiene, arithmetic and music. Most subjects were taught in Spanish. The girls have fewer subjects. These focused on reading, writing, arithmetic and religion (called the 4 R's), morals and good manners, music, sewing and embroidery and some home crafts. Science was nonexistent.

A royal decree passed on Dec. 20, 1863, provided for the establishment of a complete system of education in the Philip-pines. Escuela Normal Elemental, a school for training male teachers, was opened on the same year by the Jesuits who had been permitted to return to the country. The school changed its name to Normal Superior in 1883 and started a four year training course for secondary school. By the time, the first graduates of this school were administering secondary schools, the Propaganda Movement and the Philippine Revolution ended 378 years of Spanish rule in the country. One issue which fomented the revolution was the neglect or total lack of education for Filipinos. Educational reform came too late.

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1.2 Education under the American Civil Government (1901 - 1935)

Mass education in the Philippines was launched with an instruction from then U.S. Pres. McKinley to the Philippine Commission on Apr. 7, 1900 to promote and improve the system of instruction already started by the American soldiers. Despite the Filipino-American war (1899-1901), the American soldiers opened classes in occupied areas for Filipino schoolchildren. American school teachers started coming in June, 1901 aboard the ship Sheridan. Two months later, the biggest batch of American teach-ers, numbering 540, arrived on USS Thomas. These school teachers subsequently became known as Thomasites after the carrier which ferried them across the ocean. The name Thomasites soon was applied to all American teachers who came to the Philippines. The Thomasites led in implantation of American culture and civiliza-tion throughout the country. English was chosen the language of instruction for lack of a widespread indigenous Philippine lan-guage. Spanish speakers at the time constituted less than 10 % of the population. Since then English had been the medium of in-structions in schools until 1974, when the Department of Educa-tion adopted a bilingual policy. English has been used not only in schools but also in cross-Ethnic communication together with Pilipino, the national language.

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1.3 Language Issue in Education

The language issue in Philippine education has a long histo-ry, that has been filled with controversies because of ethnic diversities in the country. Ethnic loyalties militated against the choice of one indigenous language as medium of instruction over the other Philippine languages.

In preparation for self-governance by Filipinos, the Philip-pine Commonwealth government was inaugurated in 1935. On Dec. 30, 1937, following a mandate from the 1935 Constitution then Pres. Manuel L. Quezon proclaimed Tagalog as the basis of the national language. Even at that time, Tagalog had the greatest number of native speakers and the language spoken in Manila, the seat of commerce and politics. In 1940, the Filipino national language was proclaimed an official language effective July 4, 1946, together with English and Spanish. Also in 1940, its teaching was required in the senior year of all high schools and teacher training institutions.

The spread of the national language was given strong boost during Japanese occupation. The Japanese aggressors instituted the teaching of Nippongo, together with the use of Tagalog to replace English in government, to eliminate traces of American influence. Table 2 shows the high increase in Tagalog speakers before and after World War II as compared to that of English speakers. Tagalog, as seen from the table data, has steadily grown in use all over the country.

Table 2. Per cent of Population who are Tagalog and English Speakers


% Tagalog speakers

% English speakers
















The Filipino national language became a symbol of national-istic fervor when it was renamed Pilipino by a 1959 Department of Education Order of then Secretary Jose Romero. Later, the 1973 Philippine Constitution provided for the development and formal adoption of a national language to be known as Filipino to be based on Philippine languages , not just Tagalog. The Tagalog-based Pilipino language remained an official language together with English.

In 1974, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports adopted a bilingual policy in all Philippine schools at the basic education levels. This policy aims to take advantage of the scientific, commercial, and cultural links of an international language while it develops the national language as an essential instrument for achieving national unity and integration. DECS Order no. 24, s. 1974 outlined a program for the use of Pilipino and English as media of instruction in definite subject areas. Additionally, Arabic is to be used in certain areas of the coun-try where it is necessary. The additional instruction on the use of Arabic pertains to Madrasah schools in Muslim areas of the country. The program was fully implemented in 1982, with Pilipino being used at all levels of secondary schools.

The bilingual policy is still enforced today. Filipino is used as the language of instruction in the social sciences, character education, health education and physical education. English is the medium of instruction in Science, Mathematics and Filipino at the elementary level. At the secondary level, half of the subjects are taught in English and the other half in Fili-pino. The subjects taught in English are Science and Technology (S & T), English in Communication, Mathematics, and Technology and Home Economics (THE). Thus, all instructional materials in science for both levels are written in English. In actual class-room practice, teachers and students tend to use the indigenous language of the area. This is mixed with English or Filipino, translating or code switching, whenever necessary.

The use of Filipino in teaching science, especially at the early grades is being advocated by some educational psycholo-gists, claiming that learning science in a second language makes learning the concepts even more difficult. There are those, however, who do not want to lose the advantage of using an inter-national language. This issue is far from being settled in just a few years.

In the tertiary level, instruction is in English. However, there have been initiatives in the past decade of changing to Filipino. The University of the Philippines which is the national university and is the recognized leader among higher education institutions in the country has decided to encourage the use of Filipino and has a major project of producing textbooks in Filipino. There is concern, however, about the use of Filipino at the tertiary level because the government board examinations for the certification of professionals, including chemists, are all in English.

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2.1 Present Status of Basic Education

Table 3 shows the educational ladder of the Philippines and the normal age of pupils or students in each grade level. In school year 1995 - 96, the entrance age for grade 1 pupils was lowered to age 6. Preschool is optional. Six years of elementary education and four years of secondary education constitute basic education. Elementary education is compulsory and provided free by the government. Secondary education, on the other hand, is not compulsory, although provided free in government schools.

Table 3. Education Ladder, Philippines

Years in School

Normal age


Curriculum Program



Tertiary Education

Post Graduate Studies



Graduate Studies



Graduate Studies





Higher Education (degree courses/program)












Secondary Education

General Secondary






Secondary Education





Elementary Education

Intermediate Education





Primary Education











Kindergarten and










At the secondary level, two general types of curriculum are followed - general secondary and vocational/technical type. The general secondary high schools prepare the students for higher academic work while the vocational/technical high school focus on skills training e. g. fishery, agriculture, crafts making. Special science high schools with more intensive science curricu-lum also exist.

Table 4 shows the number of government (public) and private schools in the country in school year 1993-94. Private schools make significant contributions to secondary and tertiary educa-tion. Table 5 shows the student enrollment in the same school year. A total of 17 303 147 students are enrolled in Philippine schools in school year 1993 -94. Sixty two per cent (62%) or 10.73 M are elementary school pupils and 26.5 % or 4.59 M are secondary school students. Thus, a total of 88.5 % of the total students population are enrolled at the basic education level.

Table 4. Number of Public and Private Schools in the Philippines1993-94

School Level

Public Schools

Private Schools







3 143

3 143

1 892


5 035


33 035


2 052


35 087


3 586


2 294


5 880




1 665


2 210

Higher Educ.











1 235

Table 5. Students Enrollment in Philippine Schools1993-94

School Level

Public Schools




196 609 (47.2%)

220 285 (52.8%)

416 894


9 913 199 (92.4%)

818 254 (7.6 %)

10 731 453


3 057 178 (66.6%)

1 532 859 (33.4%)

4 590 037

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2.1.1Science Curriculum at the Elementary Level

Educational system in the Philippines is highly centralized. Most educational policies are decided at the national level. This includes the content of the curriculum for basic education. The Minimum Learning Competencies for the Elementary Grades or MLCs is published by the Central Office of the Dept. of Education, Culture and Sports. It lists the curriculum content as learning objectives in seven learning areas. The curriculum now enforced is the New Elementary School Curriculum (NESC), developed under the project Program for Decentralized Educational Development (PRODED). It was fully implemented in 1989.

Science in the elementary grades is taught as an integrated subject called Science and Health. Science concepts and skills complement health; and health practices reinforce science con-cepts. The curriculum is built within the conceptual framework "Human Beings and the Environment". The approach is spiral. Knowledge, competencies and attitudes are developed from the more basic and simple ones in Grade 3 (later lowered to Grade 1) to the more detailed and complex in succeeding grades. It focuses on the development of an understanding of how science relate to everyday life, comprehension of the environment, acquisition of science skills, attitudes and values necessary to solve everyday problems, and the development of knowledge, attitudes, values, and behavior essential to the individual, family and community health. Process-oriented and activity-based learning experiences are emphasized to develop skills necessary in discovering and organizing knowledge.

Some chemistry-related concepts are identified in the NESC Science and Health curriculum. Studies of the form and properties of matter (solids, liquids and air) start in Grade 3. Changes in state and the use of appropriate terms to describe these changes are part of the Grade 4 MLCs. Grade 5 MLCs include chemical pollution in air and water and separation and recovery of the components of sea water. In Grade 6, pupils study the particu-late nature of matter and how new materials are formed.

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2.1.2 Science Curriculum at the Secondary Level

The New Secondary Education Curriculum (NSEC) now enforced in all Philippine high schools was developed under the project Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP). It was implement-ed on a year-by-year basis from 1989 to 1992 after four years of field testing and materials development. The textbooks and teach-er's manual resulting from the development work are provided free to all government schools, just like the PRODED materials for the elementary schools.

NSEC covers eight subjects in each year level of high school (see Table 6). As mentioned earlier, English is used as medium of instruction for Science and Technology (S & T). Thus, all instructional materials are written in English. S & T subjects and Technology and Home Economics (THE) have double time frames, 80 minutes compared to 40 minutes of the other subjects. This allows the students to finish a practical activity within a period. (THE is a four component subject consisting of Home Economics, Indus-trial Arts, Agricultural Arts and Entrepreneurship.)

Table 6. Subjects for Secondary Education


Time Frame







Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies)


PEHM (Physical Education, Health and Music)


S & T (Science and Technology)


THE (Technology and Home Economics)


Values Education


The NSEC S & T series was developed by the Academic Staff of the University of the Philippines' Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP-ISMED). UP-ISMED is a recognized lead institution in science education activities in the country, earning for it the label Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education. The S & T series was developed along the following objectives:

l to provide the students with basic knowledge and skills in the sciences and its technology

l to create in the students an awareness of science and tech-nology in everyday life

l to encourage the students to opt for a science or science-oriented career

l to inculcate in the students values and attitudes necessary to become contributing members of Philippine society.

The NSEC S & T series was designed to be student-centered and community-oriented. It is cognitive-affective-manipulative based. The whole series is based on the experimental nature of science. It promotes the idea that science is a way of thinking and doing. Thus, the student textbook is both a textbook and a laboratory manual. It includes practical activities designed as learning situations for students to develop an understanding of concepts, acquire practical and process skills, and develop values and attitudes related to the practice of science.

Each year level of S & T focuses on a specific discipline shown in Table 7, but concepts and applications are interwoven and interrelated with the other sciences.

Table 7. NSEC Science and Technology Curriculum

Year Level


S & T I General Science (Focus on Earth Science)
S & T II Biology
S & T III ChemistryChemistry
S & T IV Physics

Science and Technology I covers the basic concepts in Biolo-gy, Chemistry, and Physics with emphasis on earth and environmen-tal phenomena and problems. The relevance and applications of basic science to everyday life, such as food, health, agriculture and local social problems are discussed. The chemistry concepts identified in the list of Desired Learning Competencies (DLCs) for this subject include the properties, identification and classification of matter, physical and chemical changes as applied to the environment, and molecular models.

Science and Technology II focuses on the study of the living natural world and its many applications to daily life. Students are involved in activities where they make products from raw materials available in the community. The DLCs include chemical basis of life - a study of biochemicals.

Science and Technology III is the first intensive chemistry course for students in basic education. The subject uses chemis-try concepts and principles as vehicle for understanding familiar events and related technologies. It also presents health and environmental issues and problems arising from chemistry-related technological applications. The contents of the SEDP S and T III textbook which is used in all public schools are shown in Table 8. Table 9 lists the practical activities included in the text-book.

Table 8. Table of Contents Science & Technology III

Chapter 1

Chemistry and Society

Lesson A

Chemistry - an overview

Lesson B

The scientist's way

Chapter 2

Classifying Matter

Lesson A

All about mixtures

Lesson B

More about substances

Chapter 3

The Moving Molecules

Lesson A

The three phases of matter

Lesson B

Focus on gases

Chapter 4

Changes in Matter

Lesson A

Laws of chemical changes

Lesson B

Chemical language

Lesson C

The mole is a quantity

Chapter 5

Living with Solutions and Colloids

Lesson A

Solutions- life-supporting mixtures

Lesson B

Concentration of solutions

Lesson C

Colloids - the glue-like mixtures

Chapter 6

Chemical Change and Energy

Lesson A

Energy and change

Lesson B

Reactions on the go !

Lesson C

Equilibrium - the limit of change

Chapter 7

Inside the Atom

Lesson A

Picturing the atom

Lesson B

Electrons in focus

Chapter 8

Order Among Elements

Lesson A

Establishing relations among elements

Lesson B

Using the periodic table

Lesson C

Using elements

Chapter 9

Ties That Chemically Bind

Lesson A

Strong bonds between atoms and ions

Lesson B

Weak bonds between molecules

Chapter 10

Putting Properties to Work

Lesson A

Solutions at work

Lesson B

Making use of colloids

Chapter 11

Carbon Compounds

Lesson A

Hydrocarbons and their sources

Lesson B

Substituted hydrocarbons

Chapter 12

The Chemicals of Life

Lesson A

Water and minerals

Lesson B

Oxygen-based life molecules

Lesson C

Nitrogen-based life molecules

Lesson D

Toxic substances

Table 9. List of Practical Activities Science and Technology III




Man- made articles


Analyzing measurements and significant figures


Determining boiling points


Distinguishing mixtures


Preparing a medicinal mixture


Separating mixtures by flotation and scooping


Purifying seawater by distillation


Distinguishing substances


Distinguishing metals from nonmetals


How fast do gases diffuse?


Some gas diffusion problems


Volume-pressure relationship in gases


Volume-temperature relationship in gases


Changes, changes, changes...


Quick fermentation of coconut water


Mass relations in chemical changes


Composition of compounds


Playing with mole and molar quantities


Determining solubility


Distinguishing between polar and nonpolar liquids


Looking for the right solvent


Preparing natural indicators


Determining the pH of common substances


Preparing a fruit gel


Preparing mayonnaise


Adsorption - a "skin deep" process


Measuring heat effects


Is reaction specific for each kind of reactant?


Recycling scrap copper


What does a catalyst do?


A miniature fire extinguisher


Is equilibrium present?


Reversible and irreversible reactions


Complex formation and its effects


The flame test


Is ionization energy dependent on atomic number?


Molecular architecture


What slows down evaporation?


Testing for electrical conductivity


Determining pH of soil solutions
10-C Constructing an electrochemical cell
10-D Copper plating
10-E Electrophoresis
10-F Dialysis
10-G Detergent action


Extracting oil from local plants


Reaction of ethanol with an oxidizing agent


Effect of carboxylic acids on calcium compounds


Preparing an ester


Preparing lacquer


Testing for glucose in urine


Testing for saturated and unsaturated fats


Some reactions of proteins


Preparing tahu

Science and Technology IV focuses on Physics, using energy as the unifying theme. It adopts the historical and humanistic approach in presenting scientific theories, emphasizing the social relevance of technological development at the same time.

The NSEC S & T series addresses the needs of the nonspecial-ists, not the individual preparing for college. Our latest data show that for every 100 pupils who entered Grade 1, only 65 finished elementary grades, 54 entered high school, 32 graduated and only 14 proceeded to college. The emphasis, therefore, was to equip a greater majority of students with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will prepare them to enter the world of work.

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2.1.3 Problems and Constraints in Chemistry Teaching

While chemistry and the other sciences are being promoted as experimental subjects and practical works are, therefore, empha-sized, actual field practice does not meet this objective. The lack of laboratory rooms and equipment, inadequate budget for chemicals and other materials, big classes, crowded classrooms and the lack of trained science teachers are perennial problems. These problems are slowly being addressed by DECS with assistance from many donor countries.

2.1.4 Other Initiatives in Science Education

Several initiatives exist to boost Science and Technology education which include chemistry education. Some have been in existence for quite some time. There is the Philippine Science High School with four campuses in different parts of the country. These campuses are funded and administered by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and follow a special science curriculum which may include as many as six credits of chemistry. Students of the Philippine Science High Schools are selected through several layers of screening tests. They are given full and partial scholarships which cover tuition fees, free loan of textbooks, monthly living allowance, transportation expenses, monthly stipend, and even school uniforms. To enjoy the scholar-ship continuously, students must maintain a certain grade aver-age. They are also required to sign an agreement to take speci-fied science and technology courses in college. These courses are in basic and applied sciences, and engineering.

The Department of Basic Education has selected sixteen high schools all over the country and developed them into special science high schools with the needed support programs. In addi-tion, the DOST-DECS Engineering and Science Education Project (ESEP) has a manpower development component. This component provides for teacher training, books, and laboratory equipment for 110 high schools which form a network of special science classes. The selected high schools are grouped around a node institution, usually a university with an established capability in providing quality science education. The node institution is charged with the responsibility to help the students and teachers of the special science classes. The aim of the program is to encourage more students to take science or science-oriented careers, so that the Philippines' economic development program could be sustained with the needed manpower.

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2.2. Teacher Training for Chemistry Teachers

Entry to the teaching profession in the Philippines requires a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE) degree for elementary school teachers and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (BSE) for secondary school teachers. For science teach-ing, Bachelor of Science graduates with science specialization are allowed to teach, provided they take additional 18 units of professional education courses. These B.S graduates turn out to be better science teachers because of stronger content back-ground. A study conducted in 1982 (SEDP, 1982) showed that the curriculum for secondary teacher preparation do not give suffi-cient depth for teachers to innovate, improvise, or teach basic concepts and skills in science.

The latest survey conducted by the Department of Science and Technology, Science Education Institute showed that only 21 % of the chemistry teachers in the field are chemistry majors. Table 10 shows data for the other sciences as well. Thus, various in-service programs are instituted for continued professional devel-opment of science teachers.

Table 10. Percentage of Science Teachers Who are Science Majors

General Science

40 %


41 %


21 %


8 %

Some institutions and organizations responding to the train-ing needs of science teachers, including chemistry, and the various in-service programs undertaken are as follows. (This paper will focus only on chemistry teaching.)

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2.2.1 UP-ISMED Training Programs

The Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Devel-opment (formerly Science Education Center) is a research unit of the University of the Philippines. It is better known by the label UP-ISMED. The institute is tasked with the mission to uplift the quality of science education in the country through its multi-pronged functions - curriculum development, teacher training, and research. Thus, it serves as a national center for training science and mathematics teachers for the country. All training programs are carried out in a well-equipped facility called the Science Teacher Training Center (STTC), a grant from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A sampling of the more recent training programs for chemistry teachers conducted at the institute include the following:

JICA-SMEMDP National Training on Practical Work. The Science and Mathematics Education Manpower Development Project (SMEMDP) is a five year (1994-99) project-type cooperation project under a bilateral package cooperation program be-tween the Governments of Japan and the Philippines. Under the SMEMDP project, 60 chemistry trainors and educators from 15 regions of the country will undergo a 3-week training on practi-cal work at UP-ISMED in summer 1996; to be repeated in 1998. This skills training will be echoed by the trained trainors in their respective regions each year following the national training. Similar training programs are also conducted in seven other areas of science and mathematics. The training focuses on practical activities developed by the UP-ISMED trainors and JICA experts.

Continuing Education for Science Teachers via Television (Project CONSTEL). Project CONSTEL adopts the long distance mode of delivery for instruction to reach the science teachers in distant places of the country. It is an interagency project between UP-ISMED, DECS and the Phil. Television Network, Inc. (PTNI), a government television channel and other support agencies. It aims to upgrade the teachers' competence in three areas - Elementary Science, Chemistry, and Physics. In school year 1995-96, 40 episodes in each area were completed and aired weekly over PTNI. Each episode is a 30-minute lesson integrating concepts, laboratory demonstra-tions, experiments, teaching hints, etc. Printed teaching guides to accompany the video-tape recorded lessons are now being de-veloped for distribution to different schools. There is a plan to use the materials for teacher courses which can be credited for graduate work.

SEDP National Trainors Training. The Secondary Education Development Project (SEDP) had a teacher training component which supported the implementation of the New Secondary Education Curriculum (NESC). Two groups, total-ing 57 teacher trainors for the public school sector and one group of 42 teacher trainors for the private school sector were trained for one month in 1990. The training focused on the content of the textbook Science and Technology III and enhance-ment of teaching skills in high school chemistry. Following the cascade model, the trained regional trainors conducted trainings of the classroom teachers in their respective regions in 1991 prior to full implementation of the new curriculum.

UP-ISMED in the early eighties had done similar teacher-training support programs for implementation of curriculum de-veloped through DECS-EDPITAF funds - the first massive textbook development program in the country.

PASMEP-Assisted Workshops on Curriculum Writing. The Philippine-Australia Science and Mathematics Education Project (PASMEP) is a five year (1988-92) foreign-assisted project that focused on manpower development in the teaching of high school Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics 3 and 4. The project had a teacher training component in-Australia and in-Philippines. Included in the in-Philippines programs are three one-month sequential training program on curriculum writing. The 30 participants for chemistry were chosen from the DECS-SEDP trainors. The output of these workshops was a field-tested teach-er's resource material for chemistry. Similar materials were produced for Physics and High School Mathematics 3 & 4 by their respective groups. All materials are now being used in the field.

PASMEP- Assisted Training Program for Secondary Science Head Teachers. A total of 48 head teachers in two batches were trained for three weeks in chemistry. The aim of the program is to enhance and update the head teachers on the content of the new curriculum for better supervision.

DECS Integrated Scholarship Program. DECS-ISP is a regular program of the Department of Educa-tion, Culture and Sports for continuing professional development of teachers in areas where they are weak. The areas of training vary from year to year. UP-ISMED conducts the training program for science and mathematics. In chemistry as in the other sciences, the focus is content upgrading and teaching skills enhancement.

DOST-SEI Assisted Enrichment Program for RSTC Educators. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its unit Science Education Institute (SEI) funds and assists a network of 15 Regional Science Teaching Centers (RSTC).

In preparation for the implementation of a certificate course for chemistry teachers in the RSTCs, the RSTC educators went through a 3-week training program in 1988. The UP-ISMED trainors assisted them in the preparation of the various course syllabi and exemplar lessons for the certificate program.

Summer Enrichment Programs for Pre-service Students. DOST-SEI funds a 4-year scholarship program for selected students at Philippine Normal University (PNU). The course leads to a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Teaching (BSCT) degree. Prior to the senior year, these pre-service students undergo a one-month summer enrichment program at UP-ISMED. The program's objective is to further equip would-be teachers with more ad-vanced knowledge and teaching skills. A similar program is con-ducted for Physics students.

Training for Science Teachers Assisted by City Government. The institute has been conducting training programs for various groups of science and mathematics teachers upon the request of some city governments and municipalities. These train-ing are often of the integrated type combining various science disciplines. Length of training is often dictated by the request-ing party depending on available funds.

Competency-Based Short Term Courses. Besides commissioned training programs, the institute con-ducts regularly 18 to 36 hrs. short term competency-based courses. Some of the courses that have been offered for chemistry teachers in recent years included the following:

1. Laboratory Skills Training for Chemistry Teachers

2. Preparing for a Science Fair

3. Physical Chemistry Concepts for High School

4. Integrating Environmental Concepts/Concerns in Chemistry Teaching

5. Conducting a Science Investigatory Project

To reach the teachers in distant places, e.g. Visayas or Mindanao, some of these courses have been conducted in cooperat-ing universities in these places e.g. West Visayas State Univer-sity in Iloilo City and Mindanao State University in Marawi City

Training on Teaching Methods for University Faculty. Trainings on teaching methods have been conducted for chem-istry university faculty upon the request of their departments. The program focus on teaching methods specific to chemistry.

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2.2.2 The UP Open University

The University of the Philippines offers a postbaccalaureate Diploma in Science Teaching by distance education. This is designed for teachers in remote areas who cannot take a leave from their teaching posts or who do not wish to leave their families in order to undertake full time studies.

In this program, the teacher-students are given printed texts for self-study, supplemented in some cases by audio lessons. They go to learning centers once a month for study sessions. Examinations are also held in the learning centers.

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2.2.3 Regional Science Teaching Centers

There are 15 Regional Science Teaching Centers (RSTCs) in the country. Some are private universities, others are state colleges and universities. Majority of the RSTCs have existed since the early 1960's. UP-ISMED has played a key role in build-ing the faculty of these RSTCs through its consortium programs with the Graduate Faculty of the UP-College of Education and De La Salle University. The RSTC faculty are graduates of masters (MAT & MST) and Ph.D. programs conducted by the consortiums. In turn, the RSTCs conducts regular long term and short term programs for chemistry (and other sciences) teachers in communities close to the particular RSTC.

An 18-month certificate program is now being conducted in selected RSTCs in the country. The targets of this program are the chemistry teachers who are not majors in the field. In the past, the RSTCs had conducted six week summer institutes for chemistry teachers. The institutes were handled by two instruc-tors trained at the master's level. Teachers who were trained at the summer institutes echoed the training they received at the division/school level.

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2.2.4 Training Programs of Leader Institutions

Leader institutions in different regions have the capabili-ty, with their faculty and facilities, to conduct workshops, seminars, and other in-service programs in their regions. Some of these schools in neighboring regions hold science consortia and host on rotation-basis in-service programs for chemistry and other sciences in the locale. University professors and UP-ISMED specialists are sometimes invited as resource persons. DOST provides the funding under its institution building program. Both secondary and tertiary level chemistry teachers participate in such workshops/seminars.

2.2.5 Training Sponsored by Professional Organizations

The Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT) is an active professional organization of chemistry teachers at the tertiary and secondary levels. It has been conducting annual congresses, seminars, conferences, and /or workshops during school breaks. College professors and chemists in industry con-duct the trainings. Training in more specialized fields of chem-istry, usually at tertiary level are undertaken by other profes-sional organizations such as the Organic Chemistry Teachers Association (OCTA), Philippine Biochemical Society, Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, etc.

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3.1. Chemistry in the General Education Curriculum

The basic BachelorŐs degree in the Philippines is a 4-year program. About one third of the course requirements form what is referred to as a general education (GE) program. This consists of courses in communication skills, social sciences, history, literature and the arts, natural sciences and mathematics. The GE program is expected to broaden the studentŐs intellectual and cultural horizons.

The natural sciences part of the GE program consists of a blend of physics, chemistry, biology and geology. The chemistry portion presents the basic theories and principles of chemistry, their historical development and applications. For example, the evolution of the atomic theory is discussed from the ideas of the ancient Greek philosophers to the empirical evidence for present model of the atom.

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3.2. Undergraduate Chemistry Programs

Three types of undergraduate chemistry degree programs are offered: BS Chemistry, BS Biochemistry (two institutions offer this and BS Agricultural Chemistry (only one university). The Commission on Higher Education which coordinates all tertiary level institutions lists 39 universities and colleges which offer these programs. Of these, 21 are private institutions and 18 are state colleges or universities. In recent years, some private institutions have stopped admitting students into their undergraduate chemistry programs mostly due to decreasing enrollment.

In a survey conducted in 1996 by the CHED Technical Panel for chemistry the student distribution showed a concentration of in the National Capital Region which is the Metro Manila area (see Table 11 ).

Table 11. Distribution of chemistry student population


No. of B.S. Chemistry students

% of national















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3.2.1 Recommended BS Chemistry Curriculum.

In 1989, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports which at that time had jurisdiction over all levels of education, issued a general policy statement and standards for curricular programs in the basic sciences.

In the policy statement, the BS Chemistry curriculum has as its general objective the development of scientifically and technically competent individuals with basic laboratory skills essential for a career in chemistry and related fields.

The BS Chemistry degree specifically aims to provide the students with:

  • 1. adequate knowledge and understanding of the various classes of chemical substance, both organic and inorganic, with emphasis on their structure, properties and reactions;
  • 2. good laboratory techniques and mastery of basic laboratory operations encompassing analytical, organic, and physical chemistry;
  • 3. the ability to critically analyze a real or theoretical problem and apply chemical principles in investigating and/or proposing solutions to the problem;
  • 4. understanding of the applications and effects of chemistry in the lives of people and in various fields, agriculture, health, industry, etc.
  • In addition to the GE requirements, the minimum course requirements for the program are as follows:

    Chemistry 60 units*
    General Chemistry I and II 10 lec/lab
    Analytical Chemistry 5 lec/lab
    Instrumental Methods of Analysis 5 lec/lab
    Biochemistry 4 lec/lab
    Inorganic Chemistry 3 lec/lab
    Organic Chemistry I and II 10 lec/lab
    Physical Chemistry I and II 10 lec/lab
    Thesis 3 lec/lab
    Chemistry Elective 10 lec/lab
    Physics 11 units
    Mechanics and Heat 4 lec/lab
    Electricity and Magnetism 3 lec/lab
    Modern Physics 3 lec/lab
    Mathematics 15 units
    Algebra 3 lec/lab
    Trigonometry 3 lec/lab
    Calculus 9 lec/lab

          * One unit of lecture or laboratory is equivalent 
            to one hour or three hours per week for 16 weeks. 
          * One unit of laboratory is equivalent to three 
            laboratory hours per week for 16 weeks.

    The minimum number of units in chemistry in the curriculum is only 60. However, many institutions require more. In most, there are additional physical chemistry courses, organic chemistry courses and an inorganic chemistry laboratory course. Some include applied chemistry courses such as food chemistry, natural products and nuclear chemistry. Some institutions also include statistics and differential equations as part of the mathematics requirement.

    The policy statement also recommends the integration of computer education in the chemistry, physics and mathematics courses but many institutions prefer to require a separate computer science course.

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    3.3. Chemistry Board Examinations

    The practice of chemistry as a profession requires a license given by the Professional Regulations Commission thru a Board of Examiners. The members of the board are practicing chemists who are not faculty members of a college or university offering a chemistry undergraduate program. This is to prevent bias on their part either in the preparation of examination questions or in the marking of examination papers.

    A license may be obtained by taking an examination held once a year. The examination has four parts with the point distribution divided equally among the four: (1) General and Inorganic Chemistry; (2) Analytical Chemistry, (3) Organic Chemistry, and (4) Physical Chemistry.

    A license may also be awarded to those who have obtained a doctoral degree in chemistry.

    The license is renewable every three years. The renewal is given only upon showing proof of having undergone continuing professional education (CPE). Activities which may considered for continuing education are:

  • - attendance in seminars, conferences and conventions
  • - graduate studies
  • - authorship of journal articles, books and monographs
  • - inventions
  • - on-the-job training
  • - study visits
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    Almario, Virgilio S. - ed. dir., 1991. Students' Philippine Almanac Quezon City: Children's Communication Center and Filway Marketing Inc.

    Continuing Professional Education Primer, 1996. Professional Regulation Commission, Republic of the Philippines.

    Dayrit, Fabian M., 1996. "Some documents, observations, and recommendations based on the PRC data and 1996 Survey." Unpublished document.

    Dept. of Education, Culture and Sports, Govt. of the Philip-pines, Primer on the Secondary Education Development Project (SEDP) undated.

    Dept. of Education, Culture and Sports, Govt. of the Philip-pines, 1989. Science and Technology I; 1990. Science and Technol-ogy II; 1991. Science and Technology III; 1992. Science and Technology IV, Quezon City, Philippines: Instructional Materials Corporation.

    Llamzon, Teodoro A., 1978. Handbook of Philippine Language Groups Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

    National Statistical Coordination Board 1994 Philippine Statis-tical Yearbook Makati, Metro Manila

    Policies and Standards for the Basic Sciences, DECS Order, No. 111.s. 1989.

    The Congressional Commission on Education, 1993. Basic Education, v. 1. The Educational Ladder, Book Two. Making Education Work, Quezon City, Philippines: Congressional Oversight Committee on Education

    The Fookien Times 1995-96 Philippines Yearbook Metro Manila: The Fookien Times Yearbook Publishing Co., Inc.

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