Gatchalian bats for math and science high schools in provinces

Published December 30, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Noting how Filipino high school students scored low in math and science in a recent global survey, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian renewed his call for the establishment of a public math and science high school in every province.

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian

Gatchalian, who earlier filed Senate Bill No. 369 or the proposed “Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act,” said it was imperative that lawmakers prioritize the creation of more Math and Science High Schools in provinces to boost nationwide proficiency levels, following the results of the global Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018.

The PISA survey, which was used to assess 15-year old students’ proficiency in Mathematics, Science and Reading Comprehension, revealed that among 79 countries, Filipino students scored second lowest in Science and Mathematics.

Filipino high school students scored an average of 353 and 357 in Mathematics and Science, respectively. Gatchalian noted that the focus of the next PISA assessment, which will be in 2021, will be on Mathematical Literacy.

This, he said, underscores the necessity of building schools in the provinces with a curriculum that focuses on Mathematics and the Sciences.

“Ang kakayahan ng ating mga mag-aaral sa Agham at Matematika ay hindi lamang sumasalamin sa katayuan ng ating sistema ng edukasyon (Our students proficiency in Science and Math do not only reflect the standing of our system of education),” Gatchalian pointed out.

“Ipinapakita rin nito ang kakulangan sa kahandaan ng ating mga kabataang maging bahagi ng ating mga industriya sa kanilang pagtatapos, lalo na’t napakabilis ng pagbabagong dulot ng teknolohiya, (It only shows our youth’s lack of preparedness to be part of our industries after they graduate, especially since technology is fast changing)” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Under the bill, all provinces are mandated to have at least one public Math and Science High School within their capital cities. These schools shall implement a six-year integrated junior-senior high school curriculum that focuses on Advanced Science, Mathematics, and Technology subjects.

All these subjects shall be taught under the guidance of both the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Under the measure, graduates from these schools would be required to enroll in a course of study in Pure and Applied Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, Technology, or any other field deemed appropriate by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Gatchalian added that these schools will boost student performance in the provinces, noting that in all three areas covered by PISA, students from the rural communities scored lower than those in the urban areas.

“The establishment of a Math and Science High School in every province will also foster greater equity in our education system,” he said.

“Sa pag-angat natin ng kalidad ng edukasyon, layunin nating makitaan ng husay ang bawat mag-aaral ano man ang man ang kanilang katayuan sa buhay o saan man sila nagmula, (in improving the quality of our education, we want to see our students do well whatever their status in life is or wherever they came from),” Gatchalian said.