2 Pinoy science teachers among 2010 Magsaysay awardees

Posted at 08/02/2010 3:59 PM | Updated as of 08/02/2010 3:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Two Filipino teachers who introduced a revolutionary way of teaching science and non-science subjects in Bohol are among 7 individuals from Bangladesh, China, Japan and Philippines who will receive the 2010 Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

An announcement from the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation website said teachers Christopher Bernido and Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido are being recognized for "their purposeful commitment to both science and nation, ensuring innovative, low-cost, and effective basic education even under Philippine conditions of great scarcity and daunting poverty."

Other awardees are Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, Japan who led a campaign for nuclear disarmament; environmentalists Huo Daishan, Pan Yue and Fu Qiping from China; and AHM Noman Khan from Bangladesh.

The RMAF said the Bernido couple earned their doctorate degrees in physics from the State University of New York before heading the National Institute of Physics at the University of the Philippines in the 1980s.

In 1999, the two took over the management of Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF) in Jagna, Bohol as the school's president and principal upon the request of Christopher's mother.

In 2002, the couple introduced a revolutionary way of teaching science and non-science subjects called CVIF Dynamic Learning Program (DLP), which limits teacher participation by devoting 70% of class time to student-driven activities built around clear learning targets, aided by well-designed learning plans and performance-tracking tools.

"In designing DLP, the Bernidos wanted to show that poverty need not be an excuse to compromise on teaching and learning excellence. The results proved them right. In the years that followed, CVIF students showed radical improvement in their performance on national scholastic aptitude and university admissions tests," the foundation said.

It said the school's accomplishments attracted national attention, and educators from over 300 schools visited CVIF to learn about its program.

In 2006, the Bernidos designed the "Learning Physics as One Nation" project, to address the problem of severe shortage of qualified physics teachers. Launched by the Fund for Assistance to Private Education in 2008, it is now implemented in over 200 private high schools, on top of the large number of other schools that have independently adopted the DLP model.

The program includes a portfolio of learning activities to be individually accomplished by the students, and closely-associated weekly video-based lectures featuring National Expert Teachers. Real-time teacher-expert and student-expert interaction happens through text-messaging and electronic mail.

RMAF President Carmencita Abella said the 7 Ramon Magsaysay awardees are deeply engaged in reinventing the future for a better Asia, tapping into and strengthening the power of community. The awardees will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a cash prize.

Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia's highest honor and is widely regarded as the region's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine President, and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.