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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2707

Biotechnology now a course in Philippine state universities and colleges

Manila, 14 August, (Asiantribune.com): The Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program, in cooperation with the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) and the Commission on Higher Education developed a General Education Biotechnology Course Syllabus “Instituting a General Education Biotechnology Course in Philippine State Universities and Colleges.”

According to Dr. Cynthia R. Hedreyda, Director of the NIMBB and who spearheaded the course project in 2008, the Biotechnology course syllabus aims to prepare participating state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the Philippines to institute a general education Biotechnology course in order to boost biotechnology education and awareness in the country.

Dr. Hedreyda noted that Biotechnology education in the country is disseminated primarily through workshops and symposia conducted by scientists, people from the academe, government agencies like the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

These attempts, are, however, not sufficient to make knowledge of benefits derived from products of the new technology, particularly the agricultural products of modern biotechnology, widespread.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap justifies the introduction of the biotechnology course in this wise: “One of the many initiatives that we are undertaking to vigorously promote the safe and responsible use of biotechnology is its inclusion in the college curriculum, initially in 16 selected State Universities and Colleges.”

He adds: “Our aim is to equip Filipino teachers, students and other interested individuals with the basic knowledge, and enable them to make informed decisions on biotechnology products and latest breakthroughs and developments, and related issues on human health, and the environment, and ethical concerns. Further, through this initiative we hope to encourage more Filipino youth to pursue a career in the field of biotechnology, either as researchers and scientists or entrepreneurs.”

The course syllabus contains the following:

1 An overview and introduction to Biotechnology, both traditional and modern.

2. Overview of Processes & Products of Traditional Biotechnology

3. Modern Biotechnology

4. Modern Agricultural Biotechnology, including genetically modified corn, genetically modified cotton and genetically modified papaya

5. Biotechnology for Health

6.Biotechnology for the Environment

7. Industrial Biotechnology

8. Biotechnology in Promoting Law & Order

9. Current Trends in Biotechnology

10. Legal, Ethical & Social Concerns in Biotechnology

Segfredo R. Serrano, Undersecretary for Policy and Planning. Chair, DA Biotechnology Program Steering Committee, also said: “The sustained campaign to misinform the public about biotechnology has been a big challenge for us, biotechnology advocates, in winning back the trust and confidence of the general public to realize the full economic potentials science and technology offer. The integration of the biotechnology course in college curriculum, hopefully, will help sustain our efforts in educating the people about biotechnology. This will help educate students, and prepare them for their future roles as leaders, journalists, entrepreneurs, scientists, or even as private citizens with adequate knowledge or better understanding of this specialized field of science. Hopefully, the integration of biotechnology course in college curriculum will help transform biotechnology education into something we can benefit more from.”

The course syllabus was completed with the valuable support and contribution of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines, SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center, the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), University of the Philippines – Diliman, and the 16 SUC collaborators.

- Asian Tribune -

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