In an interview with The Makati Science Vision, Miss Elena del Rosario Ruiz, Division of City Schools of Makati superintendent, said that the construction of the Makati Science 10-storey building, which will cost the City Government of Makati from PhP120 million to PhP150 million taxpayers’ money, is in full swing and is expected to be finished next school year in time for the opening of classes.
Miss Ruiz said that the city government and the division of city schools decided to build the new building because the present four four-storey buildings in Osias Street in Barangay Poblacion is quite small for its growing population.
“Mayor [Jejomar Cabauatan] Binay, Vice Mayor [Ernesto Salvador] Mercado, and I believe that the buildings are quite small. You will notice that enrolment is limited to just four sections per year level as compared to other science high schools in the National Capital Region. The Manila Science High School, for instance, has many a thousand students, while the Makati Science has, more or less, 500 students,” Miss Ruiz said.
A Wi-Fi zone, the new building will have a robotic center, an electronic library, a digital speech laboratory, two modern computer laboratories, student and faculty dormitory rooms, a number of special academic classrooms, standard and state-of-the-art science laboratories, and fully-equipped theater, conference room, and audio-visual room.
“At the back of the new building, the Makati Science will also have a covered court where students can do all their sports activities even if it is raining. We are also planning to build a planetarium at the side of the building where interactive science activities can be conducted like those at the science discovery centers of the SM Mall of Asia where students go and pay PhP350,” she said.
Miss Ruiz also said that the new building will house a maximum of 800 students, a maximum of 200 students per year level, depending on the number of students who will be admitted and who will be retained because the school will not lower its academic standards just to accommodate more students.
“Certainly, the new building will affect the teaching and learning process in the classroom. For example, if you have a standard and state-of-the-art science laboratory with the necessary facilities, there will be a quality teaching and learning environment. The school will have many computers, classrooms will be connected via a local area network, and classrooms will be connected to the Internet so that information and communication technology integration will be fully implemented,” she said.
The new building should have been at the previous site of the International School Manila in Kalayaan Avenue in Barangay Poblacion but because its sprawling campus was purchased earlier by a multi-national company, the plan was aborted.
Miss Ruiz Disappointed
However, during the course of the personal interview in her office at the new Department of Education-Makati Division Office in Governor Noble Street in Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo, just in front of the Nemesio I Yabut Elementary School, Miss Ruiz expressed her disappointment with the Makati Science.
“I’m disappointed with the Makati Science because it has not been performing very well. I’m wondering why. In the first place, we selected students very strictly, and we have a very limited enrolment. We maintained a very ideal class size of 30-35 students,” she said.
Miss Ruiz also wondered about the performance of the students even though they are receiving a monthly stipend of PhP750 as compared with other science high schools in the region, especially the Manila Science, that does not give any, except the Philippine Science High School that gives stipend depending on the economic status of its students.
“I guess, the Makati Science is the only science high school in the region that gives stipend to all of its students. I would have increased the stipend to PhP1 000 per student but unless students perform and we get to top again, it will not increase.”
Miss Ruiz and the City of Makati Education Board decided to increase the Makati Science student stipend from PhP500 to PhP750 in 2004 after the school topped the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT) in 1999 and in 2000 and after Jon Sithli Paras Mendoza won the Digital LG Quiz Year 4 Grand Finals in 2003.
“In 2000, when we still had the NSAT, the Makati Science was the top performing secondary school in the country. The Makati Science even beat the Manila Science and the Philippine Science. The Makati Science was number one, the Manila Science, number two, and the Philippine Science, number three.”
“But now, we have not performed very well. With the new building, I expect that the Makati Science students will have at least an average of 85-90 mean percentage score (MPS) in all subject areas.
“But, of course, all of you have been doing very well, a lot of students are good in mathematics. I just don’t know why last school year’s test showed otherwise. The Makati Science had 90.47 MPS but it bounced back to 79.84 MPS.”
“Now, it is your chance to bring back the glory that was lost. It is your responsibility to recover the glory that was lost. We lost that glory last school year. It was dismal, so frustrating.”
Makati Science Challenged
“We treat you as special. This is the reason why we are giving you a special building that not every student in the city can enjoy. It will be equipped with elevators and with a lot of amenities.”
“In return, we hope that you will live up to our expectations and that you will be a good model of everything, especially of academic achievement. We hope that the Makati Science will be one of the best science high schools in the country.”
“I am not aiming for number one because there are so many factors to be considered. On the minimum, I expect that the Makati Science will be in the top 10 performing secondary schools in the country again.”
“But, of course, I expect that Makati Science students to be good models of good values. I expect them to live up with the values of discipline, respectfulness, and civic mindedness. Bear in mind that intelligence is nothing without character,” Miss Ruiz said.
On Jan. 25, 1997, the Makati Science moved from its old building in San Antonio Village to its present building in Barangay Poblacion.
The Makati Science, formerly the Makati West High School, was allowed to implement its Special Science and Technology Curriculum on May 27, 1994 by Director Esperanza M Orlina.
The Makati West High School was established in 1986 after Mayor Binay felt the need of a secondary school that would absorb elementary school graduates of La Paz, Palanan, Pio del Pilar, San Antonio, and Francisco Benitez.