STEMming the tide of industry gender gap
PASIG CITY, October 31, 2016 – More Filipino women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
This is the vision shared by the Department of Education (DepEd) with members of various private and government education ministries, departments, and agencies that attended the APEC Women in STEM Forum: A Framework for Dialogue, Learning and Action in Lima, Peru.
The session served as a platform for participants to share results of the region-wide study undertaken to highlight promising and emerging practices, and specific opportunities that support women and STEM across the region.
Furthermore, the member countries’ representatives discussed tangible ideas for implementation and identification of potential partnerships at the economy level to propel APEC forward in terms of supporting women in STEM fields through educational programs and initiatives, career and workplace practices, laws and regulations, and public and private sector engagement.
They also determined priorities and next steps to bolster the pipeline of girls and women across the region in STEM in integrate them into the global STEM workforce throughout the APEC.
“Currently, we have an estimated 721,000 Filipino STEM professionals, with more men than women. The challenges are to encourage and retain more women in the field, and ultimately enable them become innovators and leaders,” stated Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat, who represented the Philippines in the forum.
Among the best practices recommended during the forum include cultivation of growth mindset; management of Math anxiety for teachers and students; and provision of calculus and computer science subjects for all students.
In the Philippines, the implementation of K to 12 program is seen as a move to further enhance the quality of teaching STEM and encourage more students to take up STEM programs. To aid these, the Department has allotted P6.9 billion for 30,697 ICT packages, P4.5 billion for 8,833 Science and Math equipment packages, and P43.9 billion for 17,562 laboratories, among others, in its 2017 budget.
The reformed basic education curriculum is also integrated with Science and Technology lessons taught progressively:
· Stimulating the curiosity and basic process skills of Kindergarten to Grade 3 pupils through exploration of the natural and physical environment
· Developing the essential skills of scientific inquiry in Grades 4 to 6 learners by establishing the connection between life and science
· Enhancing the scientific, technological, and environmental literacy of Grades 7 to 10 students by addressing real-world problems and issues directly confronting learners
· Instilling the importance of scientific research on global issues that impact the country in Grades 11 to 12 (Senior High School) students by allowing them to choose a track that suits their interest and to innovate products that help address the needs of their community
As a way of promoting Science and Technology consciousness among the youth and encouraging them to showcase their innovative skills, DepEd regularly conducts the National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF) at school, division, and regional levels.
Activities include Pinoy Robot Games, an annual robotics competition that promotes technology in learning and real-life settings; Innovation Expo, a crowdsourcing event that promote innovation among learners and industry partners; NSTF Educators Academy, an opportunity for learning and development through “shoptalk” on creativity and research education; and Research Competition on the fields of life and physical science.
The Philippines has 722,889 teachers educating, nurturing, and developing 25.4 million learners. Through continuous trainings, teachers are enabled to develop and enhance capacities that will help them guide a generation of innovators.
“We would like to see more Filipino women making ripples of change and making a name for themselves in the highly competitive field of STEM, because more women in STEM means an economy that is adapting, developing, constantly moving forward,” Ambat said.