Ilocos Sur ‘Pisay’ registers 94.94% UPCAT passing rate

PSHS-IRC CAMPUS DIRECTOR RONALEE ORTEZA (right) and Vanessa Soloria of the Guidance Services Unit (Photo/E. Antonio)

SAN ILDEFONSO, Ilocos Sur – The Philippine Science High School-Ilocos Region Campus (PSHS-IRC) here, fondly called “Pisay” in the community circle, continues to live up to its name as one of the best science high schools in the country when 75 of its 79 UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test) examinees passed in the last UPCAT test, lifting the school to Rank 3 from 8th rank among all PSHS schools in the country taking up the UPCAT.

“We also have 14 UP Intarmed candidates wherein they can avail the UP medical course for 7 years instead of the usual 10-year period and all these we owe to our dedicated, quality teachers who only teach their major subject and to the support of the parents who also enrolled their children in review centers in addition to the review sessions that we gave,” PSHS Campus Director Ronalee Orteza said, who, along with Vanessa Soloria of the Guidance Services Unit, was guest for Kapihan Media Forum  this weekend.

The PSHS curriculum, she said, is different and more advanced with electives such as Special Topics in Mathematics, Visual Basic Programming, Analytical Chemistry and Robotics to name few and unlike in the Department of Education, teachers have lighter loads, not more than 18 hours a week with no lesson plans.

“Our top management rejected the use of lesson plans; instead our teachers use modules with the DLCs, the methods on how to deliver the lessons and then they make their worksheets and power points. We prefer them to master the content rather than require them lots of paper works.  Moreover, our student-computer ratio is one is to one, so with the use of tablets and laptops in their classes. Teacher-student ratio is also one is to 30 and no way there are more than 30 students per class,” she said.

She also said that since the first batch graduated in 2007, PSHS has already produced many doctors, engineers, geologists and UP teachers and has already come out with 11 copyrighted researches while 2 others are up for patent. She also announced the near completion of the Laboratory and Technology Building worth P58.1 million and its Planetarium, the first in the region, which she said will be operational by 2019 and will be opened to the public at a very minimal entrance fee.

“When our lab and tech building will be completed, one can see here sophisticated science equipment which are basic in a PSHS lab like chromatograph and furnace. Further, we are inviting bidders to bid for other infra projects like our oval and grandstand (P50M), school canteen (P1.95M), procurement of various science equipment (P6.02M) and courtyard and flagpole (P6M),” she said.

Meanwhile, Soloria assured the maintenance of good discipline among the students with no absenteeism where students usually frequent computer shops and billiard halls.

“We regularly monitor our student activities; we have CCTVs in the campus and we give them activities where they can bring out their talents such as singing and dancing. They have jogging and biking. We have intramurals. Everything is not all studies, we allow them play because we are for the holistic development of the child,” she said.

She admitted, however, that 5 students have been dismissed from the institution for not meeting the grade standards set by PSHS.

“They were not able to maintain their grades for 2 consecutive years. If students are not able to meet the grade standard, they are given another year to do so, otherwise, they will be dismissed. But these are all oriented during the beginning of the school year,” she said.

She also said that in view of the alleged suicide cases of some DepEd teachers due to work-related reasons, PSHS regularly conducts mental health awareness programs for both students and teachers and medical assessment with neuro-psychiatric exams.

Orteza and Soloria then took time to announce the holding of the next National Competitive Examination (NCE) on October 20, 2018, calling on all qualified Grade 6 pupils to take the exams.

“They have to have 85% and above average grades in Science and Math or they belong to the upper 10% of the class. Application is free for pupils from the public school, P100 from the private. Last day of filing will be on September 14, 2018 and application forms are available at the DOST office or at PSHS. May we also call on all Physics, Math, Engineering, Biology and Computer Science graduates to apply for teaching jobs here where they will start with Salary Grade 13.  We also need 2 guidance counselors,” they said. (EDWARD B. ANTONIO)

The Philippine Science High School-Ilocos Region Campus in San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur is under the DOST established in 2003 through the initiative of former Congressman Salacnib Baterina.  It is located in Poblacion East and stands on a 5-hectare lot donated by the local government of San Ildefonso. (Edward B. Antonio)