Archive for February, 2011

Investing on Further Studies

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6, 2011 by angiegiegie

I am not saying that industrialization is playing hard ball. True, we all need to at least earn a proportional amount of money to survive. That is the jack of all trades in gaining access to food, shelter, everything practically. Given these circumstances with the fact that we are still a developing country, our government and the other sectors need to think fast. The latest statistics offered by the National Statistics Office showed a breakdown of the industry sector – the sector where the employed are categorized into.

Figure 1. January 2008 Industry Sector

As shown in Figure 1, majority of the people working in our country are focused on the three sectors – agriculture, industry, and services. Jobs offered in these sectors could be any of the following such as agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, manufacturing, electricity, gas and water, construction, wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, storage and communication, financial intermediation, etc. As one compares this results to the previous year, the agricultural sector’s number decreased as both the industry and most especially the services sector increased.

After graduation, practically almost all of us want to help out or get a job. Around January till March, seniors from different universities send out resumes, thinking that there might be an opportunity for them in the industrial sector. Doesn’t it occur to some that by doing so (with the awareness of our growing population rate), that we may have over saturating the sector?

While there are over saturated sectors, there are also their counterparts one of which is research and development. Why do I want to include this? First, we need great thinkers but it’s either they’re not staying in our country or they are not known. Partly to blame is our government and the media but then again, maybe it’s because of our culture.

Through our culture, we would react accordingly when hearing the words, research and development. One might say, it does not give good money to the people. Another would mention, it fails to thrive in our homes or universities. Lastly the rest of us would think, why waste time on that if we could get ‘real’ jobs? These are what the Filipinos think of regarding careers toward the mentioned field. There is neither the support nor the effort of the major institutions including the media and the government to promote such areas.

Moving on to my second point and based from the first point, we notice the priorities of the government, the conglomerates and the media. You don’t see advertisement gearing towards such areas aside from attaining stardom and getting into high-paying jobs as so to speak. Jobs referred here are those largely based in the industry and service sectors within the Industrial Sector. Career discernment largely depends on what one sees around his or her environment as well as other contributing factors such as culture.

Because of these two, we see this negative feedback on research most especially in our school grounds. By just looking at our school, many of us don’t give second thoughts on going to graduate schools or developing the research done in the different departments. We thought all the while that by graduating and holding on to the thought that we will be professional for others, we might actually help the country. Entrepreneurship and innovation are few of the major points our university holds. What lacks though is the motivation and encouragement for the people to do more research, or follow one of the university’s objectives on attaining academic excellence. At this point, research is already a school-wide problem. Just imagine if this were an actual nation-wide problem?

With this large issue, how do we go about this? Maybe change should start from within but this seems too general. What about the present leaders in our country? Will they do their part in shaping the country’s image on research and development? They want to solve our development concerns but they cannot solely base it on fighting corruption, focusing on industrialization and mass production, and such. All of us should think ahead and by doing so, look at the long-term benefits our people will be getting if we start promoting the mentioned area. After all, that’s one of the reasons that drives the youth to study don’t you think?

What matters in the end is not just how resilient our country is nor attaining full-employment today. We should not do the easier way out on doing things. Maybe for once, instead of focusing on attaining full employment, can’t we develop the country’s minds for our own good?



Talk to me, I’m a scientist… (via The Anti-Room)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 by angiegiegie

my same sentiments 🙂

Talk to me, I'm a scientist... I talk about science at parties. Now, I know what you’re thinking – scientists don’t go to parties. Well, sometimes people invite us, and we try to behave ourselves as well as anyone else. The thing is, I often end up discussing evolution or genetics or any other aspect of science when I’m out in company. I don’t go out with an agenda to Spread the Word, but sometimes it just happens. It can start in the most innocuous ways. Like the time I was i … Read More

via The Anti-Room

Critique on DOST’s Future Plans Part II

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 by angiegiegie

Setting aside the priorities of the department regarding our niches and thrusts in the near future, let us look at a small glimpse as to the economics behind science and technology in our country based on the assumption that we follow Secretary Montejo’s plans along with the present actions of the department. This would be analyzed according to the frameworks based on nationalism and globalization.

For several years, the Department of Science and Technology has hosted several Balik Scientist Programs and funded a number of DOST scholarships to the undergraduates and graduates taking Science courses. Based on these projects, I am assuming that the department wants to lure the great scientific minds back to the country, initiating the nationalistic approach.  But would this help our country’s recovery for sustainable growth, aside from the supposed scientific revolution that scientists normally look at?

One of the leading or most popular theories behind our slow scientific development would be the brain drain phenomena. This includes the migration of several great thinkers in our community, including scientists. The department makes an effort to solve this, by creating service bonds and perks to both the students and the professionals. As much as I want to applaud their attempts, what they are trying to do to the future scientific pioneers is creating shackles for the sake of service and hypothetical development. This impedes the participants’ initiatives to excel in their fields for the country’s scientific progress.

Another theory underlying the observed phenomena and migration would be the underemployment offered by the country’s public and private sectors. What is there to expect for us in the future when not everyone under the science field would be supported? True, there will always be the existence of the marginalized, aside the economic and political perspectives presented in newspapers.

We cannot say to the science minority, “Look, we cannot support you. That’s that but we can offer you publicity back in your home country.” We know for a fact that our media severely recognizes Filipino scientists who obtain international achievements abroad yet we expect that their service would also directly help in our assumed economic boom in the country.  Just count how many alumni in the Physics or Chemistry Department who’ve gone beyond borders just to be supported by research grants and at the same time, make it to the most popular scientific journals in the world. Let’s face it. There aren’t enough jobs or domestic support for scientists in our country despite our policy makers’ awareness of including science and technology advancements as a key to economic development.

It’s funny that aside from the nationalism the department is trying to reinforce in us, it also wants to be globally competitive as well. Globalization as I’d recall is one of the Millennium Development Goals in our country. The government would support OFWs and the BPO sectors, thinking that these could give a huge impact for economic growth.

Related to my earlier point on underemployment are the funding priorities of the department. Last week, I was a participant in one of the tours offered by the Department of Science and Technology. We were assigned to look at the different equipment the Material Science Division has in store. Almost 90% of the tools dated back to the 1970s and were donated by the Japanese. It seems that aside from the research grants and scholarships that the department has planned long ago in their budget, there’s also the need to budget research facilities. At this point, I am not saying that foreign aid is bad. What bothers me is the lacking initiative of the department to step up the notch and create new ways in evolving the country’s S&T progress as compared to other countries.

Besides the source of funding what about tackling the sources of the country’s GDP growth or sustainable development? Past presidents brag about the economic contribution of the OFWs and the BPO industries in our country. I can’t really argue professionally with their plans; they are the economists while I am the physicist. It is just sad that we are giving the upper hand to getting immediate economic results while suffering the long-term sustainability we could get such as developing other factors of production such as science and technology. It’s like comparing the pros and cons of vocational courses to the pure science courses and their contribution to the country’s economic and sustainable development.

One would recall in basic Macroeconomics that investments and savings can’t compete with technology. As I refer back to my earlier post, we keep in mind that science and technology advancement is a two-way growth. I am not saying that the government and most especially the Department of Science and Technology needs a major overhaul in creating solutions to uplift the development status of our country. We should as well be giving way to baby steps for such issues.

The Philippines can’t just give a nudge to the science and technology based sector. It is the seed that bears fruit to what may be the country’s bean stalk.