STEM summit kicks off in PH, pushes for cross-sectoral collab

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The First Integrated STEM Leadership Summit in Asia kicked off at Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu this week. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Photo taken on November 11 shows representatives from various partners discussing the then-upcoming First integrated STEM Leadership Summit in Asia

The summit, which runs until November 24, is working under the theme “Strengthening Integrated STEM through Global Crossvergence.” It is a platform for cross-sectoral dialogue and collaboration within members of the government and education, as well as industry stakeholders, towards addressing the needs of communities from the grassroots level to the global scenes in building a STEM-ready society.

Organized by the Unilab Foundation and the US-based STEM Leadership Alliance (SLA), the convention is also backed by the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Co-presenters of the event include Microsoft, C&E Educational Solutions, UP College of Education, Center for Integrated STEM Education, and the Pilipinas Shell Foundation.

“The involvement of the DTI, DepEd, and the DOST in this groundbreaking summit, including the support of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Region. The participation of government underscores their critical role in mobilizing a unified front and gaining an influential voice in putting STEM at the forefront of our national developmental agenda,” said Unilab Foundation executive director Lilibeth Aristorenas.

Based on “The Future of Jobs Report 2018” of the World Economic Forum, the impact of Industrial Revolution 4.0 is largely felt by businesses who are already identifying that 51% of their employees need upskilling to keep up with the increase of automation being used for processing and daily operations.

With STEM’s core skills development for creativity, innovation, critical thinking, complex problem solving, technology design, and even programming, the automation solution will be difficult to implement or even come close in these aspects.

At the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the country is ranked at the 54th place, a drastic improvement compared to last year’s 73rd spot. This means that although the Philippines’ capability to meet industry demands may be lagging behind its Southeast Asian peers, it has been continuously making strides in innovation competitiveness, with the need to nurture the STEM pipeline in the early stages of education.

“The summit presents an imperative for a strategic partnership among schools, education, business, and community to share ideas and resources in aligning workforce needs with educational preparation and creating a culture of innovation,” Aristorenas added.

Among the summit’s featured speakers are NASA astronaut and ISS Commander Dr. Steve Swanson and World Bank senior economist Victoria Levin.

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