Beyond #PisayContract, strengthen S&T in PH – netizens
MANILA, Philippines – At the Philippine Science High School (PSHS), incoming students and their parents are asked to sign a contract. Since the students are government scholars, they are required to take up science courses in college.
Is this a fair policy?
Deemed as one of the best high schools, if not the most prestigious, in the country, PSHS is mandated to promote global excellence in the field of science and mathematics education. To attain this goal, the school offers scholarship to students who pass the National Competitive Examination (NCE) “with the end view of preparing its students for a Science career.”
But what if the students, who signed the contract when they were 12 years old, suddenly had a change of heart and decided to pursue a different path in college?
This was the question raised by Mara Melia in her iSpeak piece entitled “Breach of contract? One Pisay mother’s thoughts.”
“My point is that there are and will be a lot of factors that could warrant a change of heart 3 or 4 or 7 years from when an 11 or 12-year old PSHS NCE passer and his or her parents sign a contract. But I am not to say if all changes of heart ultimately become definitive changes in paths taken, or whether a change of path does not also lead to the same destination,” Melia added.
The article resurrected a long-standing debate on the fairness of the policy.
During the Twitter conversation, some netizens defended the merits of the contract, arguing that it is a worthy trade-off for the kind of education PSHS could provide to students. After all, specialized high school education comes with a price.
“There must be a consideration that the parents and students must agree to,” said Lito Madrasto.
Commenting on the article, Obey Dagaas said that lest a student changes his mind, he can simply pay back the amount the school spent for his education.
“If the student will not pursue that path in college/his career, then a slot would have been wasted for someone who wanted/needed the training to be a scientist/technologist,” Dagaas explained.
To some PSHS graduates, like Jonel Maseda, the contract also served as a reminder of their commitment to practice research in the future – a way of giving back to the country that provided for their education.
Too young to understand
However, a couple of netizens disagreed and argued that the policy is unfair, considering that incoming high school students are too young to understand the long-term implications of signing the contract.
“For me it’s a bit stifling. I don't think all 12 to 13-year-olds have that clear of a goal for the future yet,” Ray A said.
Allister Sanchez expanded the argument on Facebook and asked: “You can only encourage people to take the path of science and technology, but you shouldn't force them. What kind of scientists and engineers do they expect to develop anyway? Do they really want people who are doing S&T (Science and Technology) simply because they have no choice?”
According to the netizens who participated in the discussion, the parents of students vying for a slot in PSHS play an important role.
Valentin Jose Adrian, parents should not only decide for the students, but also let the kids understand the trade-offs of entering the school. Counseling should be done by the parents and students as well, said Alyssa Katrina.
While netizens argued for and against the fairness of the PSHS contract, they rallied behind the argument that the issue lies not with the policy but with strengthening the field of science and technology (S&T) in the country.
“What’s stronger than a #PisayContract? Sense of purpose and passion to serve. Government education should put value on that,” MovePH head Zak Yuson said.
Beyond fixing the issue on the PSHS contract, netizens urged the government to invest more in the underrated field of S&T in order to motivate students to pursue a career in science.
"How can they (government) motivate the youth if they can't even create enough opportunities in the S&T field here?" Arnel Cayabyab asked.
Responding to the question, Abe Clarito recommended the government should "formulate a concrete research and development roadmap and include this in the curriculum of Pisay and other science high schools."
Aside from creating opportunities in S&T, PSHS and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in general should strengthen correlating S&T to nation-building, Jemar Mapili suggested.
Check the #PisayContract conversation below:
Instead of a #PisayContract, how do you think can the government inspire the youth to become scientists? Join the discussion in the comment box below the article. – Rappler.com