The University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) strongly urged the incoming administration to increase the public spending on science and technology (S&T) education and program to catch up with neighboring counties.
A statement released by UPD Task Force Nation-Building on Saturday, June 25, said that this act will “raise the domestic industries’ competitiveness.”
In a UP policy document on nation-building in the post-pandemic period, they encouraged the government to shed more light on strengthening the country’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
UPD College of Science Dean, Giovanni Tapang, said that the low priority given to STEM is a factor in “relatively low enrollment” and graduates of science and engineering programs in Philippine universities.
The document also highlighted the need to support and raise funds for the university-industry collaborations in research and development. It mentioned the presence of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in developing such partnership but pointed out that this year’s budget for DOST is only P24.268 billion, which is remarkably lower by P919.8 million compared to last year.
The UPD paper cited available data regarding the poor academic performance of Filipino youth when it came to S&T compared to other countries.
As per the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Filipino students ranked lowest among all 58 participating countries in Grade 4 mathematics and science.
Moreover, the scores of 15-year-old Filipino students in reading, mathematics, and science were also the lowest in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment conducted by the Organization of Economic and Co-operation and Development.
Also, the paper reported that only 24 percent of S&T graduates in the Philippines landed in S&T occupations and activities.
According to the Women in Science study conducted by DOST-Science Education Institute which used the 1990-2015 data, it showed that 76 percent of S&T graduates landed non-S&T jobs while others worked overseas.