The Philippine Education Research Journal is proud to announce that Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido, husband-and-wife team and both PERJ Editorial Consultants, are among seven who won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Awards (RMA) for 2010. The other awardees are Tadatoshi Akiba (Japan), Huo Daishan (China), A.H.M. Noman Khan (Bangladesh), and Pan Yue and Fu Qiping (China).
Read the Bernidos’ paper on
“ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN
THE LEARNING PHYSICS AS ONE NATION PROJECT”
The Award is given to persons–regardless of race, nationality, creed or gender–who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, and in doing so have made contributions which have transformed their societies for the better.
Here’s the Bernidos’ RMA citation:
The state of a country’s science and technology indicates its capacity to develop. By this measure, there is cause for grave concern in the Philippines. Consider science education. Poor facilities, unqualified teachers, unproductive
pedagogies, and inadequate state promotion have worked against efforts to upgrade science education. Thus, the Philippines has lagged behind other Asian countries in number of scientists, volume of scientific research, student performance levels, and the quality of its universities.
Thankfully, there are some bright lights in the landscape. One is the inspiring story of the couple Christopher and Maria Victoria Bernido. Coming from privileged families, both earned their doctorate degrees in physics from the State University of New York. They headed the National Institute of Physics at the University of the Philippines in the 1980s, and were university awardees for teaching and research excellence. They stood at the top of their profession and were well respected in the world community of physicists.
Then, in 1999, the Bernidos surprised colleagues by moving to the poor, remote municipality of Jagna, in Bohol province, to run an old, struggling high school — heeding the request of Christopher’s aging mother, who owned the school. It was not just filial duty, however, that led Chris and Marivic to devote themselves to the Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF), as the school’s president and principal, respectively. They knew it was more practical to simply close down the school; but they also glimpsed a challenging opportunity. Running CVIF would force them to come to grips with the problems of basic education in the Philippines. Marivic says, “For us, it has always been the bigger picture, the country. We both wanted to do something for the country.”
It was not an easy transition but they faced the challenge in a determined, methodical way. In 2002, they introduced a revolutionary way of teaching science and non-science subjects, which they called CVIF Dynamic Learning Program (DLP). A cost-effective strategy focused on strong fundamentals, it limits teacher participation by devoting seventy percent of class time to student-driven activities built around clear learning targets, aided by well-designed learning plans and performance-tracking tools. The program uses locally available teaching aids and a “parallel classes scheme,” in which three simultaneous classes are handled by one expert teacher with the help of facilitators.
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. CVIF is a small school of only five hundred, mostly-poor students. But the significance of what the Bernidos initiated quickly spread throughout the country. The school attracted national attention, and educators from over three hundred 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 two hundred 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.
In remote Jagna, the Bernidos also hold regular workshops that have drawn the country’s physics teachers, international scientists and even Nobel laureates. And they continue to mentor young scientists from various Philippine universities.
In electing Christopher Bernido and Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido to receive the 2010 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes 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.