House bill mandates science labs in public schools

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A science laboratory at the Ateneo de Manila University. (Photo credit: ateneo.edu.ph) A science laboratory at the Ateneo de Manila University. (Photo credit: ateneo.edu.ph)[/caption] Cagayan de Oro City rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao party-list rep. Maximo Rodriguez, authors of House Bill 3272, said science and technology is a vital tool for national economic development. Rodriguez cited the declared policy of the State to give priority to scientific and technological efforts vital to national development. Rodriguez said studies have shown a positive relationship between economic development and scientific and technological capability. According to Rodriguez, it has been proven that industrialization can be achieved if schools adopt modern methods of teaching science and technology during the early stages of education. “In an era of rapid scientific and technological development, the State should provide mechanisms to enable the country to be globally competitive. One mechanism is to create a science and technology educational program that will propel our country to be at par with our Asian neighbors,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said to meet the demands of the times, government should start improving the country’s science and technology educational system. “We must increase infrastructure support to build and upgrade laboratory rooms and provide facilities in all public elementary and secondary schools. We must also provide venue and materials for students’ direct and hands-on experiences in Science and Technology learning,” Rodriguez said. The measure, to be known as the “Science Laboratory for Basic Education Act,” aims to improve the quality of science and technology in the country. It also seeks to provide basic and advance S&T education in high school, respectively in preparation for higher education. Moreover, the bill seeks to teach students the effective use and operation of modern laboratory equipment and facility related to science and technology and train S&T teachers the use of modern laboratory equipment so that they will be more effective in demonstrating their uses. Under the bill, private schools, which shall import laboratory equipment/facilities for the exclusive use in their school, shall enjoy 20 percent tax deduction from the total revenue obligations. Private entities engaged in the manufacture of laboratory equipment needed in public schools and importation of raw materials shall get a 3 percent tax incentive. The measure seeks to provide the construction of laboratory buildings; required laboratory equipment and facilities; continuous development and updating of standards for facilities and strengthen partnership between public and private institutions in promoting science and technology. In addition to the funds to be provided by the legislature, the bill shall source funding support from the 20 percent share from the gross proceeds of travel tax collections of the national government and from the net income of the Philippine Games and Amusement Corporation (Pagcor) over and above the franchise tax and corporate income tax. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Science Education Institute (SEI) in coordination with the regional offices of the Department or Education (DepEd) and the Regional Science and Technology Teaching Centers (RSTCs) are mandated to implement the program. ]]>

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