"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Years in High School and PhD

Defending DepEd's K to 12, education secretary Briones was recently quoted, "I know for a fact that if one is a PhD, for example, from the Philippines, you go to another country, you will not get the same kind of ranking that you will have in the Philippines because they will automatically count the number of years you have had in basic education as well as in your field of specialization..." The first part of the secretary's statement may indeed be factual but the second part, "because they will automatically count the number of years you have had in basic education", is outright false. At the doctorate level, one's transcripts or grades, or even being a summa cum laude are not considered. What counts is one's original contribution to human knowledge, as documented in publications in peer-reviewed journals. 

Above copied from Rappler
Why an education secretary would issue such a misleading statement is perplexing. Perhaps, it is simply an invitation for knowledgeable people to cite the real reason why PhD graduates from the Philippines receive a ranking which they could not get outside the country. Maybe, Secretary Briones merely wants the words of retired professor Flor Lacanilao rehashed:
...In these two examples of addressing problems -- poverty and basic education -- failure is easily predictable. But it takes properly trained and experienced natural and social scientists to make such assessment. Many international studies have shown this. Hence, putting such right people in charge, or directly involved, in reform initiatives is another basic prerequisite to successful programs. It is critical in improving higher education and science. 
The right people are those who have made major contributions to their respective fields of endeavor, as indicated by properly published works and citations. Important are papers in journals and citations listed in Science Citation Index or Social Sciences Citation Index. Such properly published authors have the necessary expertise to evaluate information correctly. 
The lack of such expertise among the wrong people in charge explains why, even with the advice of respected natural and social scientists, the decisions of those in charge -- based largely on personal opinion and common sense -- often prevailed....
Does Secretary Briones really want to hear the reason why PhD graduates from the Philippines receive in the country recognition that they would have great difficulty obtaining in another country? Because I honestly do not think that she actually subscribes to the reason being the number of years in high school.

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