February 11, 2012
ANGARA TO AQUINO ADMIN: DO MORE FOR SCIENCE & INNOVATION
Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the Aquino administration to roll out more initiatives in promoting science and innovation throughout the country as a means to spur national development.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, made the statement as he cited results from a survey conducted by global powerhouse General Electric (GE) that showed 92 percent of respondents believe innovation is the main lever to create a more competitive economy.
Around 3,000 business executives spread across 22 countries were surveyed for the 2ndGE Global Innovation Barometer, which was conducted by research and consulting firm StrategyOne.
"This study is but another in the large body of evidence that proves investments in innovation are crucial to a nation's prosperity. More must be done today to meaningfully harness Filipino creativity in finding solutions to our nation's most pressing challenges like climate change, disaster preparedness, food security, healthcare, universal education and widespread poverty," said Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
The veteran lawmaker noted that around P300 million in the 2012 budget has been appropriated for the establishment of innovation clusters--three-way partnerships among the government, academe and industry leaders in conducting research and development (R&D) for technologies useful in facing national problems.
COMSTE, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are currently working together to draft master R&D plans for innovation clusters in the following areas: 1) Algae Research and Commercialization; 2) Smart Agriculture and Precision Farming; 3) Responsible Mining Technologies; 4) Disaster Science and Management; and 5) ICT for Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS).
"These clusters are our attempt to answer the urgent need to change the way we conduct R&D in this country," explained the former UP President. "Alongside the efforts of the DepEd [Department of Education] to roll out the K to 12 curriculum, we are trying to create an entire ecosystem that thrives on scientific thinking and ingenuity."
The DepEd recently made assurances that the new basic education curriculum is being designed to strengthen science education, amidst criticisms regarding its prior pronouncements on dropping "Science" as a separate subject in Grade 1 starting SY 2012-2013.
Angara, who is also Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Culture and the Arts, had earlier expressed support for the extended curriculum and called on the DepEd to further clarify how scientific education will not be diminished.
A joint public hearing on the K to 12 curriculum between the Senate Committees on Education, Culture and the Arts; Ways and Means; and Finance will be conducted on February 16, 2012.
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