Amidst the global celebration of the World Science Day for Peace and Development today, November 10, Senator Win Gatchalian continues to push for the establishment of public math and science high schools in all provinces nationwide.
Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 476, or the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act, seeks to provide equitable access to quality education in the pure and applied sciences, mathematics, and technology for all Filipinos to nurture future generations of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and other professionals who will serve the nation as catalysts for scientific, technological, and industrial progress.
“A robust research and development sector is essential to achieving high-income status. This specialized academic preparation opens doors to critical thinking, financial literacy, and evidence-based decision-making and these skills are highly critical to the improvement of the nation’s economy as it relies on a workforce proficient in math and science,” said Gatchalian, adding that investment in human capital will pay dividends.
The senator cited data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, which revealed that the Philippines only has 186 researchers per million inhabitants, one of the lowest among ASEAN countries.
Gatchalian also flagged the poor performance of Filipino learners in math and science in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), where the Philippines ranked second lowest in Science and Mathematics out of 79 countries that participated.
In the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the Philippines also came in last out of 58 countries in Mathematics and Science. The Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) 2019 also showed that only 17% of Grade 5 learners met the minimum standards in Mathematics expected for the end of primary.
“Ang math at science ang ating pundasyon upang isulong ang inobasyon sa ating bansa. Kung mapapatayuan natin ang bawat probinsya ng pampublikong math at science high school, matitiyak natin na bawat sulok ng bansa ay magkakaroon ng mahuhusay na Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics (STEM) professionals na makakatulong sa ating pag-unlad,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.