Filipino educators dominate Southeast Asian Awards for classroom innovations

Filipino educators Southeast Asian Awards
Filipino educators won 3 of the 4 trophies at the 2022 Southeast Asian Educational Innovation Awards (SEA EIA). Photo from Rowan Lasalita Celestra Facebook.

Three Filipino educators dominated the 2022 Southeast Asian Educational Innovation Awards (SEA EIA), winning 3 of the 4 trophies given to outstanding classroom and school innovations that helped make better learning environments for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teacher Joana Romano’s development of an offline gaming app for math and reading students of Melencio Castelo Elementary School in Quezon City, Principal Mary Hazel Ballena’s provision of handheld two-way radios for every student of Bucay North Elementary School in Abra, and Principal Rowan Celestra’s leading of mothers to become learning facilitators of students at Buenavista Elementary School in Sorsogon City, were honored with the awards conferred by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization – Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH) to outstanding teachers and school heads in the region.

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The Filipino educators outshone fellow teachers and heads from Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and other competitors from the Philippines.

This year’s winners and their works were also featured in the first issue of the INNOTECH Educational Innovation Digest which highlighted educational innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Improving Kindergarten Performance in Mathematics and Reading Through Digital App and Reading Videos
Joana B. Romano, Master Teacher I, Melencio M. Castelo Elementary School in Payatas, Quezon City, Philippines

Joana Romano, a Master Teacher I from Melencio M. Castelo Elementary School in Payatas, Quezon City, received recognition for developing an “offline, game-based digital application coupled with a set of video materials to teach Kindergarten students mathematics and reading in their Mother Tongue.”

The digital app and videos helped her students improve their mathematics and reading skills while also developing positive attitudes towards the subjects.


TEACH TALK (Teachers’ Engagement, Action and Commitment in Assisting Learners at Home to Think, Ask, Listen, and Build New Knowledge)
Mary Hazel Ballena, Principal of Bucay North Elementary School in Abra, Philippines

Mary Hazel Ballena, Principal of Bucay North Elementary School in Abra, developed a system to continue reaching out to learners despite the lack of internet service in the area.

“At the school’s initiative, teachers used a different medium to deliver learning to their students in the middle of the pandemic. Through partnership with different stakeholders, the school was able to provide handheld two-way radio for every student which they used to deliver lessons, conduct learner assessments, and conduct parent orientation and meetings,” the awards’ website reads.

Ballena’s initiative helped improve learners’ performances throughout the year and also strengthened the bond between the teachers, their learners, and the parents as they were able to communicate freely and immediately.

E-NAY.COM (Education for Nanay in the Community)
Rowan L. Celestra, Principal of Buenavista Elementary School in Sorsogon City, Philippines

Rowan Celestra, Principal of Buenavista Elementary School in Sorsogon City, spearheaded a project to help mothers in their community become learning facilitators amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project helped learners and also empowered mothers in the community.

“Along with capacitating the mothers, the project also established a learning center in every purok (sub-villages) which serves as a library, drop-off point for learning modules and accomplished activity sheets, and when called for, a classroom. Through the small community learning centers established, and with the help of the Mother Teacher Volunteers, learners were able to continue learning in an engaging way,” the awards’ website describes.

The fourth award was given to an Indonesian teacher. The awardees were honored during the 45th SEAMEO High Officials Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand held from November 28-30.

Each winner received a trophy of recognition from Dr. Attaphon Sangkhawassee Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education of Thailand who represented the Minister of Education during the event. Winners also received travel grants of up to 3,000 USD as part of the prize.

Filipino public school teachers were also honored with the Global Teacher and Student Prize, the Asia-Pacific Teacher Exchange for Global Education (APTE) Best Practice Contest awarded by UNESCO, and Thailand’s prestigious Princess Maha Chakri Awards.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to the winners of the Southeast Asian Educational Innovation Awards (SEA EIA) for leading classroom and school innovations that help make a better learning environment for students!

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