Three Japanese mentors honored

In a simple ceremony held at the Science Teacher Training Center auditorium on 3 February 2012, UP NISMED awarded plaques of appreciation to Mr. Takashi Yamagiwa, Dr. Tomosuke Terakawa, and Dr. Kenichi Hiura, for their contribution to the development of science and mathematics education in the Philippines. Dr. Soledad A. Ulep, NISMED Director, together with former directors Prof. Porfirio P. Jesuitas and Dr. Merle C. Tan handed over the plaques.

From left: Dr. Ulep, Dr. Yoshinobu Tokita representing Mr. Yamagiwa,
Dr. Terakawa, Dr. Hiura, Prof. Jesuitas, and Dr. Tan

Mr. Yamagiwa was in charge of science and mathematics education at the Ministry of Education in Japan at the time the Grants-in-Aid request for the establishment of the National Learning Resource Center for Teacher Training in Science and Mathematics Education (NLRCTT, now Science Teacher Training Center or STTC) was first submitted. As head of several missions to study the proposal, Mr. Yamagiwa’s endorsements were instrumental in the eventual approval of the grant in 1988. Due to a lingering illness, Mr. Yamagiwa was not able to personally receive the award.

Dr. Terakawa, then professor of science education at Hiroshima University, was responsible for the selection and dispatch of Japanese science and mathematics education experts to the Science and Mathematics Education Manpower Development Project (SMEMDP)—a project-type technical cooperation program that lasted for five years from 1994 to 1999, following the establishment of the STTC. Dr. Terakawa also led the SMEMDP evaluation team when the project ended in 1999.

Dr. Hiura, the indefatigable JICA expert in science and mathematics education then assigned at NISMED, was recognized for paving the way for Japan’s technical cooperation to benefit the country’s science and mathematics education. It was through his efforts and persistence that the proposal initially penned in 1981 by NISMED’s founding director, Dr. Dolores F. Hernandez, obtained the Japanese government’s nod of approval seven years later. As team leader, Dr. Hiura led the JICA experts during the SMEMDP project.

The honorees expressed their appreciation for the special recognition in brief but heartfelt messages. The attendees were teary-eyed as they read onscreen the last line of Mr. Yamagiwa’s message, “I will decorate it (referring to the plaque) on my sickbed as my life’s treasure.” Dr. Terakawa, in a shaking voice and trembling hands still holding the plaque, told the audience, “This is the best award I have received in my life.”

An audiovisual presentation depicting documents and activities that highlights the honorees’ respective contributions likewise provided an apt backgrounder to the event. After the plaques were awarded, a group of NISMED staff led the audience in serenading the awardees with a rendition of “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko.” Viewing of the Dolores F. Hernandez memorabilia installed at the STTC Library concluded the event.