Rural Initiative for Science Education (RISE) in the Philippines
Pueblo Science’s international RISE program will show local teachers how to include new experiments in their classrooms and how to connect scientific concepts to daily life. Topics to be covered during the workshop will include environmental protection, water purification, and renewable energy.
Teachers attending the training will come from various provinces of the Philippines, and they will be recruited in collaboration with Ateneo de Davao University, Philippine Science High School Iloilo and the Department of Education. Priority will be given to teachers from remote areas.
Fundraising target is $15,000 to train 600 teachers from remote areas of the Philippines on how to use locally available materials to create science kits that can be integrated into the local curriculum and that help young students understand the connections between human activity and their communities.The follow-up activities include coaching students on their science fairs and science club projects. We will also monitor which activities were implemented by the teachers, and how their students reacted.
Classrooms in Remote Communities of the Philippines: Challenges on the Ground
Students from remote communities of various Philippine provinces continue to perform poorly on national assessment tests in math and science. Teachers and students typically live in remote villages surrounded by rolling mountains once covered by thriving tropical forests. These used to be home to rare animal species such as the Philippine eagle, but the past few years have brought tremendous changes. The forests have been stripped of their natural assets and are now mostly denuded. Occasionally, some agricultural crops are planted.
Local science teachers often do not have the background to develop learning activities that help young students understand concepts that relate to communities, environment, and health. The teachers currently teach physics, chemistry, biology, and math to students in grades 7 to 12. But in many cases, teachers are educated as generalists and are themselves not specialists in any field of science. A recent nationwide curriculum change forced them to teach all disciplines even if they were not trained in these subjects.
The teachers receive little to no government support, and everything they currently use in their classrooms is paid out of pocket. In some cases, they ask their students who often come from impoverished families to bring materials for the activities. We work with teachers who are dedicated and eager to learn how to encourage their students to take an interest in science and engineering. The teachers travel for hours to the training locations from remote communities across the Philippines, using their own money and giving up vacation time to attend our training because they believe it will help them inspire their students.
The 600 teachers that will be trained in the Philippines will yearly engage at least 36,000 students. Based on previous programs implemented in the Philippines, we expect the following impact
- Students’ attitude towards science turns positive
- Students will turn what they learned in their science class into a livelihood project or a project that benefits their community
- Teachers and students are inspired to create science fair projects and science clubs
- Teachers will start holding peer training camps and student camps outside of their classrooms
- Teachers create their own science kits using local resources