"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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Why Are There More Lawyers Than Chemists in the Philippines?

What major an entering college student chooses depends on several factors. Of course, a high school dropout can not even exercise such a choice. Even a high school graduate who is not lucky enough to have had received a quality basic education has limited options. On top of these, the career choice made by a child is often influenced by his or her parent's income or socioeconomic status. In "Who Had Richer Parents, Doctors or Artists?", Quoctrung Bui finds that those who chose law often come from households wealthier than those who chose a career in the physical sciences:

Above copied from
"Who Had Richer Parents, Doctors or Artists?"

Recently, Cielito F. Habito wrote this on the Philippine Inquirer:

Above copied from the
Inquirer

Habito, however, does not make any connection between the above problem and the current predicament of basic education in the Philippines. Instead, the dearth of chemists in the Philippines is blamed on the licensing requirement. Comparing the number of takers alone already shows the gigantic advantage of lawyers over chemists. This means that there are simply more students studying law than students who are studying chemistry.

Inequity in basic education is consequential. If most scientists come from working families and children from these families are not provided quality basic education, then these children will not even reach the required skills and knowledge to succeed in a freshman chemistry course. On the other hand, if resources and effective teachers are concentrated in schools that mainly serve rich children, it should not be surprising to see so many lawyers at the end of the education pipeline. It is indeed reasonable to extrapolate that if inequities in basic education linger, lawyers will become plenty and chemists will become scarce.


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