MANILA — A lawmaker has filed a bill creating math and science high schools nationwide to allow bright and talented students in the far-flung areas of the country to pursue their talents in these fields of endeavor.
Rep. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City) said House Bill 4801 mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to coordinate with the local government units (LGUs) in establishing at least one public math and science high school in every province.
“In order to fulfill our destiny as the next true Asian tiger economy, we must ensure that we have invested in the human capital necessary to achieve our goal,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian said despite the increasing government commitment to improving education, the country is still tailing behind the other countries with regard to quality education.
“National performance in math has worsened, with students posting an average score of only 46.3% on the National Achievement Tests from 2011 to 2012,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian said math and science are only available to the lucky few that are admitted to the Philippine Science High School and those who are fortunate enough to live near one of the other science high schools scattered across the country.
Gatchalian noted that the establishment of a new structure of accessible math and science high schools across the Philippines will allow capable and willing students who have been hindered by geographic and economic barriers to pursue a science-based education in numbers that are as of yet unheard of in the country.
“Without a solid workforce of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and other skilled professionals, the Philippines will continue on with an economy perennially on the brink, yet never achieving, full industrialization and the prosperity that comes with it,” Gatchalian said.
The measure to be known as the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act shall implement a six-year integrated junior-senior high school curriculum that focuses on advanced science, mathematics, and technology subjects under the guidance of the DepEd and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Under the bill, a math and science high school graduate must enroll in a course-of-study in pure and applied sciences, mathematics, engineering, technology, or any other field deemed appropriate by the Commission on Higher Education.
A graduate who shifts or transfers to any unrelated course prior to completion of the degree program shall pay a fine equivalent to the total cost incurred by the government during the period of study.