A member of the House of Representatives has filed a bill seeking to establish at least one Public Math and Science High Schools to enable the Philippines to achieve full industrialization and prosperity.
Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian expressed hope that filing House Bill No. 4801 would allow capable and willing students, who have been hindered by geographic and economic barriers, to pursue a science-based education.
Also known as ‘Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act’, the proposed measure aims to build at least one Public Math and Science High School in the capital of every province nationwide.
“In time, this investment in human capital will pay dividend as these ambitious young students become the next science-related professionals of our country,” Gatchalian explained.
“Considering the enormous dividends that the cultivation of these brilliant minds will pay to society in the future, this is a worthy investment to make,” he added.
An advocate of high-quality education, Gatchalian envisions the Department of Education (DepEd), with the participation of local government units and other community stakeholders, to operate these Public Math and Science High Schools.
“Schools established with this Act shall implement a six-year integrated junior-senior high school curriculum that focuses on advanced science, mathematics, and technology subjects under the guidance of DepEd and Department of Science and Technology,” stated in the bill.
“The revised curriculum of the Philippine Science High School system for Grades 1 to 12 shall be used as a basis for the formulation of the said curriculum,” it went on.
Gatchalian filed the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act, which would also require the graduates of Public Math and Science High School to enroll in a four- or five-year Bachelor’s Degree in Science program after.
It also proposes to impose a fine on graduates, who shift or transfer to a course in an unrelated field prior to completion of the degree program.
“Without a solid workforce of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and other skilled professionals, the Philippines will continue on with an economy perennially on the brink, yet never achieving, full industrialization and the prosperity that comes with it,” Gatchalian said.
“To fulfill our destiny as the next true Asian tiger economy, we must ensure that we have invested in the human capital necessary to achieve this,” he added.
Recent editions of the Global Competitiveness Survey have consistently ranked the Philippines in the bottom 20 percent of participating countries in terms of high-quality of science education.
National Performance in math has worsened, with students posting an average score of only 46.3 percent on the National Achievement Test from 2011 to 2012.
Gatchalian has contributed to the conceptualization of the state-of-the-art Valenzuela School of Mathematics and Science, which was formerly known as Valenzuela City Science High School.
The newly reconstructed high school is a four-storey, 20-classroom building standing on a 7,200-square-meter floor area along A. Pablo Street, Barangay Malinta, Valenzuela City that is outfitted with cutting-edge facilities.
The 199-million campus, which is also a Wi-Fi zone, can accommodate more than 700 students. (RR Rivera)