Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines Ephraim Ben Matityau receives a warm welcome from teachers and students of Mintal Comprehensive High School in Davao City. Matityau graces the ceremony for the launching of Capacity Building of Teachers on Project Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (iSTEAM) – a collaborative project of the Department of Education – Davao City Schools Division, City Government of Davao, Embassy of Israel, Pass It Forward Foundation, and ORT Israel Network. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano /

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — About 2,900 senior high school students from Mintal Comprehensive High School here will soon benefit from a more holistic approach to learning core subjects in Mathematics and Science after their school was chosen to pilot the curriculum called Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics or I-Steam.

The learning curriculum was developed by the non-government organization, ORT Israel.

Under the program called Capacity Building of Teachers on Project Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (iSTEAM), teachers from Mintal Comprehensive High School will undergo training in Israel.

“The idea is to incorporate these disciplines together and motivate the students to be self-learners, initiate projects and to redesign the role of the teacher from just being the teacher to being able to mentor the students,” ORT Israel representative David Meir Rosenberg said in an interview at the sidelines of the ceremony for the project held at school campus in Mintal on Friday, November 24.

“Everything should be taught like this. When we work, we don’t separate, now I’m doing only writing, now I’m only doing English. I’m doing all these together so if you work like that, you have to learn like that,” Rosenberg told Davao Today.

School principal Dr. Johnito O. Galan, said the project will provide teachers with a new pedagogy of teaching Science and Mathematics to students to integrate arts, innovation, and engineering.

Galan said they are proposing to have 20 teachers trained in Israel. The expenses will be shouldered by the Pass It Forward Foundation.

Improving education quality

Lemuel Ortonio, head of the Davao City Investment Promotion Center, said the program will help improve the quality of education in Davao City.

“This will improve the manner of teaching and this will translate to a better understanding of students in Science and Technology subjects,” he said

With the new model of teaching the core subjects, Galan hopes that the performance of schools in the National Achievement Test (NAT) will improve. The NAT is the test given annually to Grade 10 and Grade 12 learners.

“These are the core subjects of our learners that we need to give special attention to. So far we are not able to reach what was expected,” Galan shared.

He said the national aim was to get 75 percent rate but the mean percentage score of the school is lower than that.

“Our target by 2019, as envisioned by our Division in Davao City, is 77 percent,” he said.

Model school

The objective is for the Mintal Comprehensive High School to become the model which, if successful, will be replicated to other schools in the country, Galan added.

Ortonio also said the school was chosen since it has not yet been given an intervention.

“We want to spread out the interventions coming from international organizations,” he said.

The ceremony held in Mintal Comprehensive High School was graced by Israel Ambassador to the Philippines, Ephraim Ben Matityau. (

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