THE Philippines needs to invest in science and technology (S&T) if it wants to keep up with other countries that are stepping up in their innovation efforts.
This was according to Senior Research Fellow Jose Ramon Albert during a seminar on innovation recently organized by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
According to Albert, investments in human capital are not being prioritized, noting there is very little spending on scholarships for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) strand in the Philippines. This resulted in the lack of local scientists and engineers, affecting the country’s innovation performance.
“There’s no systematic effort to address this issue. There is, supposedly, but it’s not enough,” Albert explained. “There are twice more lawyers than there are researchers, scientists and engineers in this country. That is part of the problem,” he added.
On the other hand, William Padolina, former president of the National Academy of Science and Technology, pointed out that the government does have “money pots” for research and development (R&D), which are lodged in agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Some R&D funds are also distributed to offices like the Department of Agriculture and the Commission on Higher Education, as well as state universities and colleges, he said.
However, the concern is on how these agencies and institutions manage the R&D funds.
Padolina, who also served as a member of the PIDS Board of Trustees, also lamented the youth’s lack of interest in pursuing higher studies, despite the opportunities and grants being offered by the government.
“Many of our research scholarship slots are not availed of anymore. We don’t know what is happening to the younger generations, but they no longer have the ambition to pursue a doctoral degree,” the former S&T secretary explained. (PR)