BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan, May 22 (PNA) — The Philippines must develop its human capital by orienting it toward science and technology to enable the country to compete in the global market, a foreign affairs official has said.
“Everything boils to human capital development. As I have said before, we cannot compete unless we capacitate ourselves,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said during a press conference here Thursday.
Del Rosario, who chairs the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2015 Senior Officials’ Meeting (APEC 2015 SOM), was asked by reporters how the Philippines could compete with other APEC member economies as the trade bloc moves towards liberalization.
The country’s education program, she said, must give emphasis to science and technology courses, for instance engineering and mathematics.
“If you just look at the statistics of CHED (Commission on Higher Education), the number of graduates in these fields is so little, and for me, that is something that we should address,” she said.
She pointed out that for the country to be competitive, it should focus more on science and technology rather than the arts.
While other economies are producing smartphones, androids, smart bracelets, and smart cars, the country talks about singers, dancers and animators, she noted.
“It is different because sometimes, when we talk about creativity, we talk of our dancers, our singers, our animators. That is a different field,” she said.
“But I’m talking about the innovative fields that are really hard science and hard technology. And this is where wealth comes from,” del Rosario said, citing the success of Korea’s Samsung in overtaking Taiwan’s HDC; and how because of innovation, Nokia, once a leading cellphone and gadget manufacturer, has been pushed out of competition.
She further said that to improve the country’s agricultural sector, it must become science-based and Filipino farmers must take research studies on farming seriously to increase their yield.
“We can have more resilient products, so that our rice stalks are not easily felled by floods, so that our fruits do not easily rot, so that everything we produce from land could compete with other products,” she stressed.
She also emphasized that farmers need to abandon traditional farming methods.
With climate change, the country needs to do research on the viability of its agricultural products to enable them to survive rains and droughts, which are real challenges in agriculture, she said. (PNA)