"Errant Science Scholars in the Philippines"
|The 2017 report comes from Manila Bulletin while |
the 2014 article is from GMANews.
The PSHS system provides living allowances. The amount could be as high as 4000 pesos per month if the student comes from a low-income household. Enrolling in PSHS requires passing an entrance exam, thus, selecting only those graduates from elementary school that have good academic background. Upon enrollment, the student and parent signs a contract which includes the following:
“Pursuit of Course in Science and Technology: The scholar-awardee shall pursue a course in science and technology, falling under the specific needs of the manpower development of the Department of Science and Technology and the DOST Council, such as the Basic Sciences, Applied Sciences, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Biotechnology, and the like...
...Reimburse to the government the full cost of the scholarship in the event that the scholar willfully abandons the scholarship or fails to take up a science or science-related career at the university level. However, the latter may be subject to a waiver on a case-to-case basis.... ”
Apart from the strange math COA employs, there are serious mistakes in COA's thinking. First, COA makes the grave assumption that if a student does not pursue a mandated course in college, the money invested by the government on a student's high school education is wasted. PSHS is considered to provide quality secondary education to its students. The main reason why the government puts money into this school system is to raise the status of science and technology in the country. Improving science and technology not only requires scientists but also a citizenry that is knowledgeable in the sciences. Whether or not a scholar actually pursues a career in the sciences, a student educated in PSHS means that the country now has at least one more citizen who is not ignorant of the sciences. Having a solid foundation in the sciences is likewise useful in endeavors outside of basic, applied or biological science. Now, there are real cases of waste in Philippine government spending. One example is the following:
The second grave mistake is the contract itself. In Europe, the right to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation is considered a fundamental right. Promoting science and technology indeed requires providing students quality education in the math and sciences. PSHS helps in building a science and technology force for the country by providing an education that hopefully motivates students to pursue a career in the sciences. This is the best we could hope for. After all, basic education should remain a place where students are still discovering not just the world around them but also what their strengths, talents and interests are.