Marcos wants DepEd to focus on STEM amid commercialized education system

·2 min read
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, left, raises arms with running mate Sara Duterte, the daughter of the current President, during their last campaign rally known as
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, left, raises arms with running mate Sara Duterte, the daughter of the current President, during their last campaign rally known as "Miting De Avance" on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in Parañaque City, (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that he wants the Department of Education (DepEd), under the leadership of Sara Duterte-Carpio, to focus on improving the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the country.

In a video posted on his Facebook on June 4, Marcos acknowledged a comment on his page that the country is left behind in the STEM fields.

“You seemed to have read my mind. Unfortunately, our educational attainment when it comes to mathematics and the sciences, we do not do very well as compared to other countries. That’s why our new administration, especially the DepEd, would have to put more stress on the so-called STEM, because that’s what we really need right now,” the incoming president said.

In the results of the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) released last December 2020, the Philippines’ Grade 4 students scored the lowest out of 58 countries.

Filipino students scored an average of 297 in Math and 249 in Science, way below the low international benchmark of 400. Meanwhile, Singapore, which obtained the highest average in both Grade 4 assessments, scored 625 in Math and 595 in Science.

“Our economy right now is very largely technical based – based on science, based on new technical innovations. That’s why we have to learn the technologies, how to improve them, and how to apply them here in the Philippines. We need the talent,” Marcos said.

Commercialized education

The Philippines is known for the export of its talents, which is mirrored in the policies implemented in the education system.

The Aquino administration even added two years of senior high school in implementing K-12 to create “globally competitive” Filipinos.

According to independent think tank IBON Foundation, the principle of education as a right of Filipinos has been replaced by decades of market-based logic that treats education as “commodity to be sold.”

In 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) found that 50% of Filipino families have at least one member who did not complete basic education. This was further aggravated by the ongoing pandemic which has forced all Filipino students to distance learning.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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