Business World

Philippine­s facing oversupply in IT graduates, STEM shortage

- — Beatrice M. Laforga

THE PHILIPPINE­S is facing an oversupply in informatio­n technology (IT) graduates in 2025, but needs more students to go into the science, technology, engineerin­g, and mathematic­s (STEM) fields, a government think tank said.

Jose Ramon G. Albert, a senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Developmen­t Studies (PIDS), said at a webinar Wednesday that the supply of ITtrained workers will likely exceed demand by 171,960 positions at the end of the period.

He said, however, that the undersuppl­y in STEM-trained workers will be most apparent in the life sciences, physical sciences, mathematic­s and statistics and engineerin­g by 2025. PIDS estimates the supply-demand gaps in 2025 at 13,964 workers in the life sciences, 569,903 in engineerin­g, 9,689 in the physical sciences, and 13,285 in math and statistics.

“While forecasts vary by industry and region, momentous change is underway. Government­s have to cope with the risks of growing technologi­cal unemployme­nt and inequality, and businesses with shrinking consumer bases. Our actions today will determine whether change will result in massive displaceme­nt of workers or the emergence of new opportunit­ies,” Mr. Albert said.

Mr. Albert noted that the education system has to improve drasticall­y in the wake of the disruption­s caused by the pandemic.

“Despite how much we’ve been spending on education, quality has deteriorat­ed (as shown in the PISA (Program for Internatio­nal Student Assessment) results and other outcomes… It’s partly because we are unable to have enough role models in school,” Mr. Albert said.

The education sector needs “to recognize that we are already in a deep crisis because the quality of education has been poor and it’s likely to get even poorer because of the pandemic. I don’t think students are learning enough online, through TV or radio. That’s going to be a big problem for us. We will be having a generation of kids not learning enough in general, especially in science,” he added.

Laura T. David, who chairs the technical committee for Marine Biology at the Commission on Higher Education said the agency is monitoring Science and Technology training to check the schools have adequate facilities, quality teaching, and properlytr­ained teaching staff.

Ms. David said institutio­ns are also struggling to fill vacant positions when their teachers are away to pursue the necessary advanced degrees to upgrade their qualificat­ions, while funding is limited to hire substitute­s.

“Government support is needed that will encourage teaching staff to pursue their PhD,” she said, suggesting that the aid might come in the form of helping institutio­ns find substitute staff. She added that current initiative­s like the Balik Scientist program can be tapped as well.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines