The debate surrounding the lack of science, technology, engineering & maths trained professionals seems to be taking place in every country across the globe. The arguments range from there being a shortage in the number of teachers, graduates and researchers to the problem being insufficient relevant and interesting jobs for those that pursue that academic route. In fact certain recent studies indicate that the real problem is due to the mismatch between qualified professionals and available career opportunities. We have been speaking to Christopher and Victoria Bernido about the critical challenge of growing STEM education in the Philippines.
In your opinion what is the current situation regarding STEM teaching in the Philippines?
STEM teaching situation in the Philippines is much like other countries. Like other countries, rich or poor, there is a critical lack of qualified and mature STEM teachers in both rural and urban areas. Like other developing countries, there is a lack of classrooms and laboratory facilities.
What are the major obstacles currently being faced?
Firstly, the teachers we train in the Philippines tend to migrate to advanced countries because of better pay and overall quality of life. This is the age-old brain drain experienced by many developing countries.
Secondly, decision-making in curricular matters is centralized, made by the Department of Education, and influenced by the ruling government’s foreign and fiscal policies.
What can be done to improve and grow STEM teaching?
At the Central Visayan Institute Foundation we have developed the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP), this is a cost-effective instructional framework designed to bypass the lack of qualified teachers while reaching performance standards for the whole socio-econo-scholastic spectrum of learners. Programmes such as this can both improve and extend STEM teaching throughout the nation.
Is the future of STEM teaching in the Philippines looking bright?
With the huge number of High School students (typically over a million per year level), we have in principle the capacity to supply the need for future STEM teachers and researchers. The quantity is already there. We believe the quality of basic education graduates, and onwards to college/university, can be greatly improved by (1) using a learning program which bypasses the lack of qualified teachers, and (2) effectively and efficiently implementing a strong STEM curriculum.
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