To help address the stagnation of Filipino learners’ mathematical and scientific literacy as shown in the latest round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing his proposal to have at least one public math and science high school in all provinces in the Philippines.
Gatchalian made this proposal in the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act (Senate Bill No. 476). Under the proposed measure, at least one public math and science high school shall be established in provinces which do not have them.
In the 2022 round of PISA, the Philippines ranked 76th out of 81 countries in Mathematics. While the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) average in Mathematics is 472, the Philippines scored 355. In terms of Science, the Philippines ranked 79th out of 81. While the OECD average in Science is 485, the Philippine average is 356.
When it comes to Mathematics, 84% of 15-year-old learners are below the minimum proficiency. In Science, 77% of students are below the minimum level of proficiency.
Gatchalian sounded the alarm that if Filipino students’ scientific and mathematical literacy will remain below proficiency level, the country will not have a solid workforce of competent scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and other skilled professionals who will be instrumental in the country’s full industrialization and prosperity. He also warned that without a scientifically literate workforce, the country will not have a robust research and development sector that could elevate the Philippines’ income status.
“Kung mapapatayuan natin ng pampublikong math at science high school ang bawat probinsya sa bansa, maibibigay natin sa mas maraming mga kabataan ang klase ng edukasyong kinakailangan ng mga susunod na scientists, engineers, mathematicians, at iba pang mga propesyonal sa ating bansa,” said Gatchalian.
Schools that will be established under Gatchalian’s proposed measure shall implement a full six-year integrated junior-senior high school curriculum, which will focus on advanced science, mathematics, and technology subjects under the guidance of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). This curriculum shall be based on the revised curriculum of the Philippine Science High School System for Grades 7 to 12.
Graduates of public math and science high schools established in compliance with the proposed measure must enroll in fields such as pure and applied sciences, mathematics, engineering, technology, or any other field deemed appropriate by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).