â€œHe who opens a school door,Â closes a prison,â€Â Â French author Victor Hugo wrote. By the end of this decade, two Asian countries, will account for four out of every 10 of the world’s young graduates. Sorry, weâ€™reÂ not one of them.
ButÂ China and India are. AÂ thirdÂ Asian country â€“ Indonesia — will bolt to fifth place, says aÂ newÂ Organization for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentÂ study.Â UntilÂ now, Japan had as big a proportion of young graduates as India. Â ByÂ 2020, China will account for 29 percentÂ of the world’s graduates, aged between 25 and 34.
â€œThis changing world map will see Brazil having a bigger share of graduates than Germany, Turkey more than Spain, the OECD study adds. In contrast, Russiaâ€™sÂ share of the world’sÂ graduates slumped by almostÂ half,Â since 2000.
`For the first time since the end ofÂ World War II,Â the US will trail at third place. Until now, â€œthe US has been the university superpower —Â in wealth, influence andÂ recently in raw numbersâ€, writesÂ British Broadcasting Corporationâ€™s education correspondent Sean Coughlan.Â He asks:Â â€œIs this an end-of-empire moment?â€
â€œEach era has its own distinct geography,â€œ notes Prof Viktor Mayer-Schonberger ofÂ Oxford Internet Institute â€œIn the information age, it’s not dependent on roads or waterways, but on bases of knowledgeâ€.
The Instituteâ€™s map measures how populationsÂ churnÂ information in the online world. “In raw numbers of undergraduates and PhDs, Asian economies are racing ahead,â€ BBC adds. But they still use Western mechanisms to publish results. They accept the filters.â€
ShiftingÂ from “mass production to knowledge economy occupationsâ€ results in higher incomes. LookÂ from the lens of science and technology-related occupations, OCED suggests. These jobs generate new types of employment. To date,Â these technology jobs are only a small fraction of the workforce in China and India.
Producing a bigger workforce and shoveling in more money were usual answers to addressÂ the shabby state of Philippine science and education, says an articulate educator-gadfly: : Dr Flor Lacanilao.
After getting his Ph.D, ( comparative endocrinology) from the University of California at Berkeley, Flor LacanilaoÂ served as chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman,. He becameÂ chancellor of UP Visayas andÂ later ledÂ the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in Iloilo.
UNESCO data show Philippines had 7,500 researchers in 2009 against Singaporeâ€™s 28,000Â Manila came up withÂ only 178 peer-reviewed publications in 2005. Singapore produced 20 times more (3,609). UP Dilimanâ€™s College of ScienceÂ doubledÂ the number PhDsÂ to over 90 in a decade. But the â€œnumber of properly published papersâ€ slumped from 24 to 15 percent of total publications.
Department ofÂ Science Techonologyâ€™s research and development budgetÂ increased four-fold. Still,Â Philippine publications, in leading journals decreased fromÂ 185 down to 178, China, South Korea, Singapore, and ThailandÂ reportedÂ aÂ two-fold increase.
â€œA major culprit isÂ performance evaluation.Â Instead of objective, internationally accepted criteria with peer review, (it hobbles) on personal judgment, by often poorly published officials. The result isÂ â€œgray literatureâ€ whichÂ doesnâ€™t contribute to development.
â€œIâ€™d like to live as a poor man with lots of money,â€ cubistÂ painter Pablo Picasso once sighed. The system here keeps scientists or teachers on lean incomesÂ butÂ hogs benefits for an embeddedÂ elite.
.â€Elite capture ofÂ traditional sectors, suchÂ as agriculture, sea and air transport, power, cement, mining and bankingâ€ cripples growth,â€ is an understatement in Asian Development Bank latest studyÂ on Philippine industrial upgrading.
The eventually scuttled National Broadband Network, (NBN) deal with Chinaâ€™s ZTE Corp, had been padded by over 120 percent, whistle-blower Rodolfo â€œJunâ€ Lozada told the Senate in 2010.Â Â â€œModerate your greed,â€ he counseled proponents.Â Bubukol yan.
Despite odds, some do break out.Â Named by Time magazine as one of the worldâ€™s top 100Â scientists, Jurgenne Primavera probed mangrove ecosystems. Â Romulo Davide won a 2012Â Magsaysay award for ground-breaking research into nematode pests that wreck food crops.
There are others, among themÂ Angel Alacala of Silliman University who exploredÂ marine depletion and fish reserves. Solita MonsodÂ blazed the path for human development. Â Ernesto PerniaÂ worked on economic impact ofÂ population.
Make scientific work pay, Lacanilao urged.Â UP publications bolted from 25 to 40 percent of the national total in a five yearÂ after a modest P55,000 award per published paper in an international journal,Â Seafdec offered a cash incentive of 50% of annual salary. Publication ofÂ the 50 all-Filipino research staffÂ bolted sevenfold.
PoliciesÂ entrenched by group decisions, result in flawed faculty hiring, promotions and award-giving. â€œTheyÂ cutÂ gains achieved by research incentives and objective criteria in performance evaluation.”
“If we have the wrong measures, weâ€™ll strive for the wrong things.â€ Nobel laureate Joseph StiglitzÂ warned. To lay foundations for sustained growthÂ two provenÂ tools are:Â higher education and science.
President Aquino appointed the first national scientistÂ his cabinet: -Arsenio Balisacan. More men of this caliber should be in PNoy’s staff.Â The Primaveras, Monsods, Davides,Â Alacalas, PerniasÂ of the nextÂ generation are now emerging fromÂ the wings. Support them. â€œThere is no shortcut to progressâ€. Â (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)