Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Three-year study shows hope for Pinoy STEM students

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In cooperation with The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication Foundation, Inc. (UPCMCFI), the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) recently released the preliminary findings of an ongoing comprehensive three-year study on the attitudes of K-12 students towards science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects in school.

These early results, published in a report entitled, “Appreciating Science:
A Project on Perception of Science Among Filipino K3 to K6 Students in the Philippines (Year 1)” were presented at a roundtable discussion held online on August 26, 2021.

A survey of over 1,000 grade school students across the country in K3 to K6 levels found that the children had “a neutral to positive attitude, awareness, and knowledge” of science despite the subject’s perceived difficulty. “There was no negative response attributed to statements related to science,” the researchers added.

However, focused group discussions (FGDs) found that students possessed only a shallow understanding of science. “While most of them recalled terms that were taught inside the classroom, they did not know how to characterize, explain, and even relate these with one another. They have difficulty in absorbing science concepts and thinking about them in creative and innovative ways,” they noted.

The researchers found that the students preferred a more learner-centered approach to teaching science, in which they are encouraged to ask questions and to seek answers for themselves. They capped their preliminary report by underscoring the need for a more interactive approach to teaching STEM, facilitated by competent and knowledgeable teachers; parental support; and real-world examples. “Both survey and FGD results confirm that motivation and inclination of the students to pursue Science is not limited to the classroom,” the researchers pointed out.

“The DOST is always trying to find avenues for this kind of collaborative research that will help us make science work for the people. We are particularly concerned about recent reports that Filipinos are not doing well in STEM, aggravated by the pandemic,” DOST Sec. Fortunato De La Peña said. “We hope that this helps strengthen our approach in building a science culture where learning is prioritized and interest in science is maintained.”

The entire study is expected to be completed in 2022. Meanwhile, the full 2021 preliminary report shall be available soon in both UPCMCFI and DOST-SEI’s websites.

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