Education, science and technology

Bicol Peryodiko, March 2010

Education, science and technology

Several decades ago, James Follows caught the imagination, if not the ire, of Filipinos when he stated that we Filipinos have a “damaged culture”. Well, another foreign expert have reminded us again of our shortcomings , this time in politics, during a lecture dubbed “Science for Peace” at the Yuchengco Auditorium in La Salle University, Taft Manila last February 3.

Prof. Torsten N. Wiesel, 1981 Nobel Prize Winner, called on the candidates in the May 2010 polls to come up with plans related to science and education. He bewailed the low level of campaign by the candidates saying “there’s too much emphasis on the corruption issues”. Nevertheless, he expressed hope that the presidential candidates will produce plans for the future. He also believed that it is very important for a government to have more resources for education and for science and technology.

The “Science for Peace” is part of ASEAN event series “Bridges: Dialogue Toward a Culture of Peace”, hosted by the International Peace Foundation. The event aims to facilitate and strengthen dialogue and communication between societies in Southeast Asia. Through this event, Nobel Laureates, local universities and institutions have formed and established relationships which resulted in common research programs and projects, Mitch Arceo of the Manila Bulletin reported.

That call, coming from an outsider looking inside out, deserves utmost consideration not only by the politicians themselves but even by the top officials from Ched and DepEd. It is very timely in view of the sad state of our education today.

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One of the prevailing ideologies in modern society today is achievement. It means efficiency and effectiveness in doing things that bring forth success. Presidential candidate Manny B. Villar took cognizant of this fact in his column, Of Trees and Forest at the Manila Bulletin, when he wrote: The next president must be achievement-oriented. He must lead the people in collective efforts to hasten the pace of our country’s economic growth.

“One of the first things that the people must do is to rid themselves of negative orientations that have hampered the nation’s economic development for decades”, Villar wrote. He identified the following negative attitudes which, according to him, have long been stumbling blocks in our country’s journey to economic stability and progress---bahala na (fatalism), isaka na (procrastination), wheel of fortune, kanya kanya (divisiveness), and puede na (mediocrity).

According to him, these counterproductive elements in some of our people’s attitudes toward time, life and work should be replaced with positive values. We need a sustained value refocusing program that has every sector of society as a stakeholder, he said.

“The whole process of positive value formation is a continuing education in need of highly credible disseminators and role models .This is a very challenging and complex task for government as the most formidable value carrier”, Villar added. And as if addressing it to himself and the other presidential candidates in general, he wrote: For government to be an effective exemplar of positive values, the leader at the helm of state must have the vision and a spirit of daring to take the road less travelled. How true! How true!