Filipino physics teacher chosen for professional dev’t program in Switzerland


The COVID-19 pandemic is not a hindrance to one’s pursuit of deeper knowledge in one’s craft. The case is true for this Filipino educator from the country’s premier science high school whose passion for learning complements his dedication to mold the country’s future leaders in science, technology, and innovation.

A physics teacher from the Philippine Science High School – Central Visayas Campus (PSHS-CVisC) has been chosen to participate in the International High School Teacher Programme 2022 organized by the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) or the European Council for Nuclear Research from July 3-16, 2022.

Joseph Hortezuela joins 42 other participants for a 2-week international teacher professional development program composed of lectures, on-site visits, exhibitions, and hands-on workshops that introduce its participants into cutting-edge particle physics.

Joseph Hortezuela of Philippine Science High School – Central Visayas Campus takes the chance for a souvenir photo during the site tour at the European Council for Nuclear Research.

“The programme aims to bring modern science into the classroom and raise scientific awareness among students. I will conduct an echo seminar or a webinar of the two-week training programme,” said Hortezuela.

CERN is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research. CERN helps to uncover what the universe is made of and how it works. CERN does this by providing a unique range of particle accelerator facilities to researchers to advance the boundaries of human knowledge.

Participants will go back to their countries as ambassadors, who pass on the subject to our next generation of physicists, engineers, and information technology specialists.

“Science education is having the primary role in achieving technological advancement for the improvement of the conditions for mankind,” said Hortezuela who also currently serves as Chief of the Curriculum and Instruction Division of PSHS-CVisC.

Since the start of CERN’s International High School Teacher Programme in 1998 only three participants from the Philippines have been accepted until 2020. Justin I. Alvarez of PSHS-Main Campus and Flordeliza Remonde in 2018 and Glaiza R. Reobilo of PSHS-Bicol Region Campus participated in 2019.

Hortezuela applied in 2019 and got accepted to join in 2022. The 2020 edition was postponed to 2021 then to 2022 due to the pandemic.

“We have a lot of things we don’t know yet in science, and we just need models and measurements to make sense of the existence of the particles in the universe. This is the role of CERN in developing particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that leads to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle in 2012 confirming the existence of this mass-giving field,” said Hortezuela when asked about his take away from his CERN Teacher Programme experience.

Behind Hortezuela is the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), one of the four big detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). CMS has a broad physics programme ranging from studying the Standard Model (including the Higgs boson) to searching for extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter.
Hortezuela stands beside a Large Hadron Collider (LHC) dipole decorative placed in front of CERN. The real LHC is the most powerful particle accelerator ever built and consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way.

“Collaboration is the key to discovery in science to explain our existence as exemplified by the scientists and engineers from the different parts of the world working at CERN,” he added.

Besides helping CERN establish closer links with schools all around the world, the programme targets to support teachers’ professional development in the field of particle physics, to promote the teaching of particle physics in high schools, to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience among teachers of different nationalities, and to stimulate activities related to the popularization of physics within and beyond the classroom.

“Pursue your dreams through perseverance, humility, and passion for science so that your frequency will resonate with the natural frequency of the environment around you to achieve your goals,” advised Hortezuela to students who are interested to pursue studies in science and to young science teachers starting their career.

Hortezuela (second from the right) and his fellow participants gather for a group photo of their site tour at CERN.

For this year, participants come from the United States, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, Kyrgyzstan, Cameroon, India, the Philippines, Finland, Israel, Slovakia, New Zealand, Turkey, Denmark, Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malaysia, Ukraine, Iran, Sweden, Montenegro, Thailand, Nepal, Poland, and Qatar.

About the Author

Aries Oliveros  currently works as executive assistant to the Executive Director of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) System. He taught English and Literature for 15 years at Paco Catholic School, Philippine Normal University (PNU), and PSHS – Central Luzon Campus. He wrote textbooks on grammar and creative nonfiction. He was formerly Chief of the Curriculum and Instruction Division at PSHS-CLC and adviser of the school papers, The PCS Gazette and The Central Scholar.

He studied Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in English at PNU, Manila where he graduated cum laude. In 2015, the Department of Education awarded him as Outstanding School Publication Adviser of the Philippines during the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Taguig City.


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