Textbook-ready for grade 11?
They say number 13 is unlucky.
But for the University of San Carlos, it is the beginning of a long journey of knowledge production and knowledge sharing as it unveils in two weeks’ time 13 textbooks that will be used by teachers assigned to handle courses that form the first semester of the Grade 11 curriculum designed by the Department of Education.
Luck had nothing to do with this.
Scanning the educational horizon over the last few years, it was getting clear from the vantage point of the USC administration that no textbooks tailor-fit for the new subjects would be commercially available when the country finally joins 99.99 percent of the world that have Senior High School programs.
At best the textbooks out in the market would be nothing more than compilations here and there of previously existing college textbooks, pulled down to pretend to be useful for Grade 11. At worst, these would just be mere modular supplements or lesson plans, devoid of real content needed by teachers who will be handling Grade 11 courses for the first time.
USC had earlier on already embraced the mantra of OBE or outcomes-based education, defined by the Commission on Higher Education as an “approach that focuses and organizes the educational system around what is essential for all learners to know, value and be able to do to achieve a desired level of competence.” This has also been adopted into the new SHS textbooks, making them substantially different and fresh.
To accomplish this, USC gathered nearly 100 of its faculty members towards the close of 2015 and contracted them to write as far as possible, all the textbooks needed for the Senior High School Program, both its core and strands.
Most of the 13 that will debut have just finished passing through a rigid review process that includes checking for both grammar and possible plagiarism. At least two external reviewers, mostly based in Manila or abroad, have also been tapped for each textbook to comment and suggest for revisions, where needed.
The final arbiter will, of course, be the pioneering students and their teachers under the SHS program at USC who will use these textbooks.
Already there have been requests from other schools to look at the textbooks since the secondary purpose of this long-term project is to share this knowledge to others
The next step is already in the horizon also as a new General Education Curriculum debuts in 2018, when the first batch of senior high graduates enters college, at least for some of them who do not wish to enter the world of work immediately. After a series of trainings for curriculum development and enhancement along OBE principles, another set of authors will begin writing textbooks in time for 2018.
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I wish to invite the general public to an exhibition at Museo Sugbo of vintage bicycles by the Cebu Vintage Bicycle Club. The exhibit is curated by my good friend, club member Ferdinand Azacarraga, together with museum curators Ray Estrada and Ma. Cecilia Cabañes. The exhibit debuted as part of the special offerings of the museum during the Gabii sa Kabilin last Friday.
An entire gallery has been devoted to this month-long exhibition, which showcases nearly 50 bicycles dating from the 1940s to the 1960s. Among the highlights of the exhibit are vintage photographs of long-gone owners posing beside their bikes, probably taken when they acquired them, and the particular bike still preserved and on display. I was able to interview one of the club’s members, a 31-year-old who started collecting recently. He told me he got his vintage bike from one of the towns in Cebu and that there may still be more out there waiting to be discovered.
But for the moment, start with the exhibit and learn more there.
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