THE CONTENT has no problem but the delivery needs improvement.

This is what College of Science Dean Fortunato Sevilla III stressed concerning the content of the chemistry curriculum in the country and teaching methods during the Conference on Improving Chemical Education organized by the Commission on Higher Education and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) last April 17 and 18 at the Thomas Aquinas Reseach Complex.

“Like the rest of the country, there is no problem with the chemistry education in the University which follows the commission standards benchmarked from programs abroad. However, unlike the University, which is attuned to developments in chemical education, not everyone in the country is following the proper techniques and the latest trends in teaching chemistry,” Sevilla said.

Hosted by the University in cooperation with the Chemical Society of the Philippines, the conference was attended by chemistry educators from all parts of the country.

According to Peter Mahaffy, chairman of the committee on chemistry education of IUPAC, the conference aims to gather people to discuss chemical education professionally and improve it.

“Participants in the conference believe that for chemical education to improve, it should be learner-centered rather than teacher-centered,” he said.

As the organizing committee head of the conference, Sevilla said he made sure that the topics reflected global currents in chemistry education.

Speakers included Peter Atkins of Oxford University in United Kingdom who talked about the role of visualization in teaching chemistry, and Jorge Ibañez of the Universidad Ibero-Americana in Mexico, who discussed microscale chemistry, a technique which makes use of small quantities of chemical reagents.

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A forum on academe-industry linkage and poster presentations on topics related to chemical education were also showcased.

According to Sevilla, hosting the conference shows that the University, the first to offer chemistry as a degree in the country, supports the advancement of chemistry education in the Philippines.

With the conclusion of the two-day conference, Mahaffy and Sevilla expressed optimism that it would not be the last collaboration between IUPAC and the Philippines.

“It is very important that these initiatives are sustained. Hopefully, the people who have been in the conference will be able to participate in the international chemical education conference that the union will sponsor in two years’ time,” Mahaffy said.


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