Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill that seeks to build at least one math and science school in each province nationwide to eliminate economic and geographical barriers that restrict access to math and science education.
In filing Senate Bill No. 369 or the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act, Gatchalian said “the establishment of a new structure of accessible math and science high schools across the Philippines will allow capable and willing students who have been hindered by geographic and economic barriers to pursue a science-based education in numbers that are as of yet unheard of in the Philippines.”
“Despite the increasing government commitment to improving the state of Philippine education, recent editions of the Global Competitiveness Survey have consistently ranked the Philippines in the bottom 50% of participating countries in terms of the quality of math and science education at the tertiary level,” he noted.
Gatchalian’s bill mandates all provinces in the Philippines which do not have at least one public math and science high school currently operating within their respective geographical boundaries to work with the Department of Education (DepEd) to establish at least one public math and science high school within their respective provincial capitals.
Schools established in compliance with the proposed measure may be established through the construction of new school facilities, the conversion and/or reorganization of an existing school, or the renovation and re-opening of currently non-operational school facilities or other idle government-owned property, provided that these schools are fully operational by School Year 2020-2021.
The math and science schools to be established schools will also be funded in full under DepEd’s budget and shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
Moreover, schools to be established 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 the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The revised curriculum of the Philippine Science High School system for Grades 7-12 shall be used as a basis for the formulation of said curriculum.
Gatchalian stressed that a universal tenet of quality education, consistently reported by reputable education experts and enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, is ensuring equitable access to all forms of education — including specialized math and science curricula.
“However, this type of valuable, oft-sought-after education is only available to the lucky few that are admitted to the Philippine Science High School system, one of the Regional Science High Schools, or those who are fortunate enough to live near one of the other science high schools scattered across the country,” he lamented.