To be globally competitive, the Philippines needs a critical mass of young peopleinterested in science and math and the way to achieve this is by teaching those subjects using interactive materials.
Engr. Filemon T. Berba Jr., president of the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST) emphasized this during the Department of Science and Technology- National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) Annual Scientific Conference and 83rd General Membership Assembly at the Philippine International Convention Center last March 16, 2016.
In his presentation at one of the break-out sessions titled “Innovative Strategies in Teaching Sciences to Filipino Students Towards Rapid Economic Growth and Global Competitiveness,” Berba said that these young Filipinos with strong leanings in science and math make up the country’s future pool of scientists, engineers, technology-based vocational workers, and other science and technology (S&T) professionals. Teaching science and math to them should make use of interactive materials starting in the elementary and high school levels. In this way, science and math teaching will be more effective.
Therefore, Filipinos must do away with the belief that science and math are difficult subjects, a mentality common in some places in the country, in order to start building a new breed of S&T workers.
He added that teachers should also upgrade their skills so that they will be more capable of effectively teaching these technology-oriented courses.
“Science and technology must empower workers, not replace labor. We have to develop a technical workforce,” said Berba who was also a member of the DOST- Philippine Science High School System Board of Trustees.
PFST operates the Philippine Science Centrum, a DOST-accredited science foundation and the first science center-museum in the Philippines. It is home to 10 galleries, more than 150 interactive thematic exhibits, and is visited by 60,000-70,000 students and teachers every year.
PFST also operates six Traveling Interactive Science Centrums for elementary and high school students across the archipelago.
“When we expose children and adults to our interactive science exhibits, it stimulates their curiosity and it may lead to broader thinking and innovation,” explained Berba.
Aside from the exhibits, PFST also organizes four to five Teacher Camps annually to train science and math teachers in the Philippines.