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Math and Science High School needed in provinces to boost nationwide proficiency levels

Following the results of a global survey which revealed low Math and Science proficiency scores among Filipino high school students, Senator Win Gatchalian has called anew for the establishment of a public Math and Science High School in every province.


VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – Students of Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science test run their robotics project at the school’s laboratory, 1 Sept 2014 file. Senator Win Gatchalian has called anew for the establishment of a public Math and Science High School in every province. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

According to the lawmaker, the results of the global Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018, which assessed 15-year old students’ proficiency in Mathematics, Science and Reading Comprehension, underscore the necessity of building schools in the provinces with a curriculum that focuses on Mathematics and the Sciences.

The triennial study 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. The focus of the next PISA assessment, which will be in 2021, will be on Mathematical Literacy.

“Ang kakayahan ng ating mga mag-aaral sa Agham at Matematika ay hindi lamang sumasalamin sa katayuan ng ating sistema ng edukasyon. 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” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

In 2019, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill 369 or the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act. The proposed measure mandates all provinces 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 under the guidance of both the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Graduates from these schools will 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. Sa pag-angat natin ng kalidad ng edukasyon, layunin nating makitaan ng husay ang bawat mag-aaral ano man ang kanilang katayuan sa buhay o saan man sila nagmula,” Gatchalian concluded.