By Alexander Villafania
PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) has approved the operation of 100 news special science education elementary schools (SSES), adding to a total of 200 such schools that are intended to develop gifted or talented children.
SSESs are specialized schools that focus mainly on science and mathematics that also include special education (SPED) schools.
These are actually schools that apply for certification to become SSESs and are used as “feeder” schools for science-oriented high schools, including the Philippine Science High School system managed by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).
So far, 100 SSESs were opened; 57 in 2007 and another 43 in 2009. As such, the first batch of SSES pupils is expected to graduate during the school year 2012-2013.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro stressed that adding more science-oriented elementary schools is part of the government’s plans to seed the country with students who are leaning towards scientific endeavors.
Such students could contribute immensely to the research and development community wherein results could become socially relevant or even become viable commercial ventures.
He noted that SSESs use a more intense approach in science education wherein science and health lessons are fully integrated into the Grade 1 curricula. The medium of instruction is a mix of Filipino and English and information technology mechanisms particularly computers are used as teaching tools.
Instruction times are also longer in SSESs; science subject in Grades 1 to 3 has instruction period of 70 minutes per day, about 30 minutes longer than in traditional classes. Grades 4 to 6 get 80 minutes of instruction period in the same subject.
Compared to traditional elementary schools, SSESs allow teachers to change their curriculum if necessary to address the needs of pupils.
SSES teachers are also given special training to be able to provide proper science and mathematics lessons.
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