The Philippines only has 165 S&T professionals — such as scientists and researchers — for every million Filipinos, way below the ratio of 380 S&T professionals for every million population prescribed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
This is according to Sen. Edgardo Angara who disclosed the deficiency in the local S&T manpower in a speech at the 1st National Conference of Scholars of the Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resources Development (ASTHRD) program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST.
The Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) said the Philippines lost around 25,000 S&T professionals to employment in other countries in 2009 alone.
“I can see no other way of creating wealth in this country except through science and technology,” stressed Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. “That’s why the DOST will become a very important department for us, spearheading and leading our evolution into a technology-driven society.”
The lawmaker explained that the country has lagged in terms of global competitiveness primarily because of its capacity to absorb, adapt, and innovate on most advanced technologies available today.
He continued, “This is demonstrated by the showing of our students in terms of science and mathematics, whether in elementary, in high school or in international competitions.”
According to the Department of Education (DepEd), seocnd year high school students who took the National Achievement Test (NAT) for SY 2009-2010 marked achievement rates of only 40 percent in mathematics and 44 percent in science.
Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (Comste), added, “If we are to rectify any of these, we’ve got to act fast. We’ve got to build our manpower in an accelerated manner. Obsolescence of technology is also fast. With these in mind all the more do I laud the DOST for its programs in building up a critical mass of world-class scientists and technologists.”
He emphasized, “What’s the use of having an island of excellence in an ocean of mediocrity? We’ve all got to aim for excellence. No one will do that for us.”