Philippine Science High School System Executive Director Lilia T. Habacon emphasized the crucial roles of a STEM education advisory body to help set standards applicable to the Philippines.

“We need a STEM education advisory body that will create and contextualize standards based on our economic needs and our technological capabilities as a developing country,” said Habacon during a Panel Discussion on “Policies for an Agile and Collaborative Ecosystem” in the 2nd Integrated STEM Leadership Summit in Asia on January 22.

According to Habacon, these standards shall reflect the principles that learning science is an inquiry-based process and that science in schools should reflect the intellectual traditions of contemporary science.

“In a collaborative STEM ecosystem, it is important to have a sustained STEM education reform effort that accelerates funding, implements STEM policies, and develops common vision and strategic plans prior to implementation,” said Habacon.

In the national context, the Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022 includes a chapter vigorously advancing science, technology, and innovation (STI) in the country through increased use of scientific and technological breakthroughs will institutionalize improvements in production, health, education, energy, and infrastructure systems, among others.

“STEM schools in the basic education system are important, but they must be created with assured relevance, quality, and accessibility,” said Habacon.

On the goals of a STEM program, Habacon said that the framework must provide the statements of grounded philosophy and the vision that drive the program to guide the students to internalize the importance of STEM education as they move through their schooling, employment, and career.

“A collaborative STEM ecosystem starts by providing the architecture for cross-sector learning, offering young people access to STEM-rich learning environments, so they can develop important skills and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math throughout their foundation years of formal education,” said Habacon.

(Aries N. Oliveros, Executive Assistant)

Further readings on  STEM education: