MANILA, Philippines?Education Secretary Jesli Lapus isn?t looking for a chess genius like Bobby Fischer but he knows the wonders that the game offers.
Saying studies have shown that children exposed to chess learn faster and get better grades, Lapus has ordered the integration of chess into the curriculum of grade school and high school students.
In a memo dated Jan. 8, Lapus ordered that chess should be included in the Edukasyon sa Pagpapalakas ng Katawan subject of Grade 3 to 6 students and in the Physical Education classes of those in high school.
?Global studies have shown that chess is a game that improves individual organizational and analytical skills. Children when exposed to this game at an early age achieve academically better or even faster than those who have not been engaged in said game,? Lapus said.
?Likewise, chess is among the activities that help build memory skills, concentration, self-confidence, self-esteem and in making disciplined decisions,? he added.
Chess mentors needed
To ensure the success of the program, Lapus ordered school divisions to look for chess experts in their communities who could serve as mentors to teachers and students and to purchase chess sets ?following the three sets to a class ratio.?
School divisions are also responsible for training ?a core of supervisors, principals or teachers, who will mentor other teachers? about the game, Lapus said.
The divisions should also monitor and evaluate ?the social effects of chess on children.?
Regional offices of the Department of Education, on the other hand, should monitor the use of chess as a ?strategy to develop higher order skills and values and to provide technical assistance.?
They were also tasked to submit to the Bureaus of Elementary and Secondary Education the list of schools implementing ?the strategy as well as the results of the assessment.?
Lapus also ordered the department?s central office to formulate guidelines, manual or lesson exemplars on the use of chess and track the program?s impact on students.
?Upload in the DepEd website the said guidelines, manual or lesson exemplars. Other experts or aficionados could be invited to enrich said materials through the Internet,? Lapus said.
But chess will bring you more than just good grades.
?Playing chess provides opportunities to practice such values as perseverance, honesty, and sportsmanship,? Lapus said.