Senator Win Gatchalian has refiled a measure that seeks to establish a math and science high school in all provinces nationwide, a move that aligns with the administration's directive to strengthen focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in basic education.
Under Senate Bill No. 476 or the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act, all provinces which do not have at least one public math and science high school shall work with the Department of Education (DepEd) to put up these institutions.
These schools shall implement a six-year integrated junior-senior high school curriculum that focuses on advanced science, mathematics, and technology subjects under the guidance of the DepEd and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Those who graduated from these math and science high schools shall be required to enroll in fields such as the pure and applied sciences, mathematics, engineering, technology or any other field deemed appropriate by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
It can be recalled that the results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed that our learners ranked second to the last in Mathematics and Science among other learners in 79 countries. The Philippines also came out last in both Mathematics and Science in the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) out of 58 countries. In the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics 2019, only 17% of our Grade 5 learners met the minimum standards in Mathematics.
Gatchalian pointed out that based on UNESCO Institute of Statistics data, there are only 186 researchers per million inhabitants in the Philippines, one of the lowest among ASEAN countries. Thailand and Malaysia, for example, have 963 and 2,054 researchers per million inhabitants, respectively. To fulfill our collective goal to be the next Asian tiger economy, we must address these skills shortage through strategic human capital investments focused on the fields of Mathematics and Science, according to Gatchalian.
"This specialized academic preparation opens doors to critical thinking, financial literacy, and evidence-based decision-making and is highly critical to the improvement of the nation's economy as it relies on a workforce proficient in math and science," Gatchalian said.
"Sa Mathematics at Science nakasalalay ang pagsulong ng inobasyon sa ating bansa. Upang mahasa ang kaalaman ng mas marami nating mga kabataan pagdating sa agham at mathematics, isusulong natin na ang bawat probinsya sa Pilipinas ay magkaroon ng Math and Science High School na pagmumulan ng ating mga mathematician, engineer, at scientist," said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
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