Jose Carillo's Forum


Open Forum: The state of education and teaching

This open forum aims to help find ways to develop a better-taught, much better-educated citizenry. You are invited to freely post here your opinions, perceptions, ideas, observations, suggestions, and experiences about education and teaching in the Philippines and in other parts of the world. Of course, you are also most welcome to post a response to any of the postings.

Photo by Luis Liwanag, The International Herald Tribune

Please confine your postings largely to your own views, knowledge, and experience. If you need to cite long references or background material on the web, just send the links to us and the Forum webmaster will take care of setting up the links with the sites you have indicated.

The need for performance-based funding for research programs
By Dr. Flor Lacanilao, PhD

Two articles on higher education show our failures in addressing persistent problems in Philippine education. One is the “World Bank East Asia and Pacific Regional Report” (Putting Higher Education to Work: Skills and Research for Growth in East Asia__Overview_2011).

The other is “Returns on higher education,” by Edilberto C. de Jesus (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 Nov 2011), a commentary on the World Bank Report. Dr. de Jesus is president of the Asian Institute of Management and a former Secretary of the Philippine Department of Education.

The World Bank Report stresses two development approaches established by developed countries:

(a) That higher education should provide the skills and research to apply current technologies and to assimilate, adapt, and develop new technologies, two drivers of productivity and growth.  

(b) Some developing countries, like the Philippines, should focus on improving the quality of graduates and building research capacity in a few universities. These should have higher funding support that is performance-based. 

Dr. de Jesus’ article does not discuss the importance of research and research universities in promoting workers’ productivity and national growth. He overlooks performance-based funding, which needs indicators to evaluate performance and to monitor progress. Further, he fails to see which—basic or higher education—is the culprit in the disconnect problem (identified by the World Bank) between the two education levels. He blames the 10-year basic education.

But studies have shown that poor higher education is the cause of poor basic education and the educational system. As Carl Wieman, Nobel laureate in physics, says, “It is doubtful that great progress can be made at the primary and secondary levels until a higher standard of science learning is set at the post-secondary level.” (“Reinventing science education”)

Wieman, in his article in the journal Science in 2009 (“Galvanizing Science Departments”) discusses innovative teaching methods in universities that improve student learning. It focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

De Jesus says, “The delay (referring to the implementation of the K-12 system) has already caused considerable damage.” He says further: “The truncated basic education cycle exerted a perverse effect on the entire educational system. . .  Filipino students, while studying more, were learning less; because they were not getting enough time to master basic concepts.” 

On the above claims, he does not give any valid support—from specialists or verified studies. These refer to those published in peer-reviewed international journals (which are covered in ISI's major indexes—Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index). They insure that study results have been verified (or verifiable), which is indicated by number of citations; these in turn measure the quality and impact of one’s works (one’s list of publications and number of citations are freely accessible by Google Scholar). 

They are internationally established criteria and measures of selection and performance (e.g., for appointment and funding), respectively.

Many have blamed the 10-year basic education system as the cause of our poor basic education. And that the K-12—just because this is the system in some other countries—is the solution. 

On the other hand, the studies of the husband-and-wife team of Christopher and Ma. Victoria Bernido, academic scientists who are the 2010 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees for education, have shown that basic education reform is achievable under the 10-year system, even amid scarcity (“Poverty and scarcity are no barriers to quality education,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 Sept 2010). 

They report, “We have seen marked increase in proficiency levels of our students, especially in Science, Math and Reading Comprehension. This is seen from their performance in college admissions tests and the National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE).”

Among the innovative changes they have introduced to our basic education are the following: (a) only one copy of textbook per class is needed, (b) no need for expensive lab equipment, (c) only 1/4 of the allotted class period is required for teaching, and (d) students are not given homework.

The above results of the well-published Bernidos team of physicists illustrate how to solve problems: (a) knowing what is wrong or the cause, (b) which of them takes an expert or specialist to find out, and (c) which also needs experts or specialists to fix. 

There are easy ways to assess if one is an expert—or has made any major contributions to one’s field. Examples are the selection criteria mentioned above and below. Another is the ISI database called Web of Knowledge(“Putting the right people in charge of science and education”; see also Everyday Practice of Science by Frederick Grinnell, Oxford, 2009).

De Jesus’ concluding statement says, “The World Bank’s timely report validates the agenda that education reform advocates in the Philippines have been pursuing. Finally, the government appears to be listening and responding.” 

I don’t think so. The World Bank Report stresses improving research, including higher funding, which should be performance-based. The two key requirements to get them done are (as I explain above): 

(a) Internationally-accepted selection criteria (for choosing people to manage programs).
(b) Internationally-accepted indicators (to evaluate performance and monitor progress). 

Both have been ignored in de Jesus’ commentary and the government’s education program. Hence, education reform in the Philippines remains elusive.

Dr. Flor Lacanilao obtained both his BS and MS in Zoology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and his PhD, with specialization in comparative endocrinology, from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as professor and chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman and chancellor of UP Visayas. He made pioneering discoveries in neuroendocrinology and led the research group that achieved the first spontaneous breeding of milkfish in captivity.

Click to read responses or post a response

Why hold a thesis/dissertation workshop?
By Dr. Flor Lacanilao

Just saw this announcement in the September 2011 issue of the UP Newsletter:

Thesis/Dissertation workshop in October

The UP College of Mass Communication Foundation, Inc. (UPCMCFI) will conduct a Thesis/Dissertation Seminar-Workshop on October 21 and 22 at the College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman.

Teachers, researchers, graduate students, government workers and private sector employees who need to know more about writing a thesis and dissertation will greatly benefit from the workshop.

Faculty members of the UP CMC Department of Communication Research will facilitate the workshop.

For more details, please call Kat Ramos of UPCMCFI at (02) 981-8500 local 2678. You may also send an email to and join UPCMCFI’s Facebook group.

Now my question is: Why a “thesis/dissertation workshop?”  Why not a workshop on “How to write and publish a research paper” instead?

What is the sense of writing a thesis, then rewriting it for publication? I think this practice is the main reason why most of our graduate students think that the end of graduate training is the thesis, or that the end of research is the conference paper. And also the reason why most of them have an unpublished PhD thesis.

There are good books (in each field) on how to write research papers (ignore the chapter on writing thesis). Graduate students should learn from them. Then when they are ready to write the manuscript, they should strictly follow the “Instruction to Authors” of the chosen journal (ISI-indexed). They should at the same time refer to an article or two from the chosen journal; they should, for example, observe the details in writing the cited references in the text and at the end, like the use of the comma and period.

This should be a good start to reform the research practice in the country, where UP can lead.

Click to read responses or post a response

Idea for environment monitoring, modeling of eco-industrial parks

Suggestion by Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer, new Forum member (September 25, 2011):

Hi, Folks!

I am new to this Forum, which deals with some interesting issues. I belong to the Filipino diaspora and want to add my two centavos' worth to the topic at hand (“PNoy’s science policy insults scientists”). I agree that environmental monitoring is a key component of S&T development, and to this I would add environmental modeling. This is for two reasons: (1) We need to develop a green manufacturing capability that promotes sustainability locally; and ( 2) We need to learn how to manufacture products that meet increasingly stringent international environmental standards and promote sustainability globally. 

I was just discussing an idea with Fr. Jett Villarin, my former Ateneo high school classmate, about building an environmental monitoring and modeling capability on a neighborhood scale that can be used in eco-industrial parks in the Philippines, including the marriage of external monitoring with industrial process control and simulation. As the Director of Air Quality Research at the Houston Advanced Research Center, I am involved in patenting a new Emission Monitoring and Attribution System that can measure industrial emissions from outside facility fence lines using a combination of DOAS (imaging and multi-axis) remote sensing, real-time in situ monitoring, and inverse modeling. I am likewise developing a new 3D neighborhood air quality model with its own chemical mechanism as well as standard transport algorithms that can be run in both forward and adjoint (inverse) mode. I have also just now published a paper in Atmospheric Environment on a new method for performing air quality Computer Aided Tomography based on long path DOAS measurements.

I would love to hook up with other Filipino scientists to promote this idea.

Click to read responses or post a response

Is our science policy backward and insulting to scientists?

The Forum features this week a fiery discussion between two Filipino scientists, Dr. Flor Lacanilao and Dr. Roger Posadas, over the former’s July 26, 2011 posting in the Forum, “PNoy’s science policy insults scientists,” where he says that “President Benigno Aquino III’s science report in his State of the Nation Address last July 25, 2011 ignores the overwhelming consensus that scientific research is a prerequisite to technological development.” We are presenting the exchange of views here after receiving permission from Dr. Posadas last August 18 to post his rejoinders to Dr. Lacanilao’s postings on the subject. Dr. Benjamin Vallejo, Jr., posted a response to Dr. Posadas's rejoinder last August 20.

This exchange of views also appears in (August 21, 2011)

PNoy’s science policy insults scientists

Posted by Dr. Flor Lacanilao, Forum member (July 26, 2011):

Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science and for 12 years president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, says in an article in the magazine emphasizing the importance of science in policymaking: “Over the long run, any nation that makes crucial decisions while ignoring science is doomed.” It is critical that national legislation be based on what science knows about potential harm, he added.

In this context, it is alarming that President Benigno Aquino III’s science report in his State of the Nation Address last July 25, 2011 ignores the overwhelming consensus that scientific research is a prerequisite to technological development. With such practices, Alberts observes, it will be difficult to make wise decisions.

In his SONA, President Aquino said: “Creativity is in display with the innovations that are already being implemented. We have developed low-cost traps that kill mosquito larvae, probably contributing to the nearly fourteen percent decrease in dengue incidents; coconut coir fibers that are normally just disposed of have been used as a cost-effective way to strengthen our roads; we have landslide sensors that warn when soil erosion has reached dangerous levels; we have developed early flood warning systems for riverside communities. All of these are products of Filipino creativity.”

But we are already in the 21st century. Innovations like these are no longer done.

The President continued: “DOST* and UP have even teamed up to develop a prototype monorail system, which could potentially provide a home grown mass transport solution that would cost us as little as 100 million pesos per kilometer, much cheaper than the current cost of similar mass transit systems. . . I am telling you now: We can dream about them, we are capable of achieving them, and we will achieve them.”

Can the DOST and UP personnel involved in this project show—with properly-published studies—the cost-effective, safety, capability claim for these innovations? 

On the other hand, it can be shown that in its over 50 years of existence, the DOST has been funding and announcing inventions and innovations, which “are products of Filipino creativity.” However, these were not backed by properly done research by published scientists. And during this period, the Philippines, from second only to Japan, has been left behind by no less than 12 Asian countries.

Further, our stunted growth of scientific capability has been shown by our S&T performance (this is measured by the number of scientific publications in peer-reviewed international journals). In 2005, our total scientific publications (in high-impact journals) were only 178, compared to those of Singapore’s 3,600-plus, Taiwan’s 10,800 and South Korea’s 16,400. China in 2009 produced 125,000.

“The environment in which decisions are made in a democracy will always be highly politicized, but it is crucial that both sides of any argument pay close attention both to what science knows and how that knowledge has been gained” Alberts concludes his article in Science.

*DOST is the acronym for the Philippine Department of Science and Technology.

Dr. Flor Lacanilao obtained both his BS and MS in Zoology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and his PhD, with specialization in comparative endocrinology, from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as professor and chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman and chancellor of UP Visayas. He made pioneering discoveries in neuroendocrinology and led the research group that achieved the first spontaneous breeding of milkfish in captivity.

Click to post a comment to this discussion
(requires registration to view & post)

Ignoring the distinction between science and technology policy

Response of Dr. Roger Posadas to Dr. Flor Lacanilao’s posting (July 27, 2011):

Hi Flor,

Well, here you go again shooting off your mouth with your criticism of P-Noy’s Science Policy and showing your illiteracy about S&T policies, the R&D and innovation processes, and industrial and technological catch-up.

In your previous commentaries, you had been calling for “literate scientists” or what you defined to be “those who know not only research but also how it leads to development (R&D) and who do something about it.” I presume that you consider yourself a “literate scientist.” However, while I might concede that you know how to do research properly and how to publish research results in SCI-indexed journals, I strongly doubt whether you know anything about the “D” part of R&D—the process that that is concerned with taking an invention (the output of applied research), developing it into prototypes, testing these for marketability and manufacturability, and preparing a business plan for its commercialization. I also question your knowledge regarding the interconnections between research, innovation, competitiveness, and national development. My strong skepticism about your literacy regarding matters of S&T, S&T Policies, and National Development is based on your flawed and naive notions about S&T and development.

First, in criticizing P-Noy’s* science policy, you betray an ignorance of the distinction between science policy and technology policy. Science policy refers to government measures on how to develop scientific research and science resources, while technology policy has to do with government decisions on the choice of technologies, the methods of acquiring technologies, technology strategies and technology roadmaps. Obviously, P-Noy’s praise of Sec. Montejo’s technology initiatives like the monorail is an attempt to enunciate an incipient national technology policy, which I hope will develop into a policy geared towards technological self-reliance and cluster-based industrialization. Just like what America, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, China, and India had done successfully in order to catch up economically, the Philippines must pursue technological self-reliance and catch-up by creating the industrial clusters where we can start producing our own trains, buses, electric cars, power plants, ships, airplanes, helicopters, rockets, tanks, submarines, robots, medicines, etc. So why should scientists feel insulted when P-Noy expresses an incipient technology policy of self-reliance?

You point out, more or less correctly, that our country was next to Japan some 50 years ago and that today we have been “left behind by no less than 12 Asian countries.” But obviously, you have not studied exhaustively—as I have done—how these Asian counties were able to overtake us and even catch up with the advanced countries. For, contrary to your historically false “Science Push” development formula that “scientific research is a prerequisite to technological development,” these countries (South Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Malaysia, Israel) first pursued and attained technological catch-up and self-reliance in selected technologies before pursuing scientific catch-up in terms of scientific paper production. Even the US and Japan followed this formula. The US first attained industrial and technological power before achieving scientific power status. It started becoming a scientific powerhouse only after World War II. Same with Japan, which first built up its industrial and technological capabilities with the help of a huge engineering manpower base before attempting to catch-up in scientific research. Technological catch-up can certainly be done without basic scientific research, because all you need to do is reverse engineer an imported product and then do creative engineering redesign to improve the design of the imported product.

As pointed out by the Korean technology management scholar, Linsu Kim, in 1993: “R&D in the formal sense of the term was not important for Korea during this stage of imitating mature technologies. Industries in fact reversed the sequence of R&D&E: it started with engineering (E) for products and processes imported from abroad, and then progressively evolved into the position of undertaking a substantial development (D). But research (R) was not relevant to Korea’s industrialization through the 1970s.”  (Linsu Kim, “National System of Industrial Innovation: Dynamics of Capability Building in Korea,” in Nelson, Richard (ed), National Innovation Systems: A Comparative Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 357-383)   

If you don’t believe me, I can lend you the following books on South Korea’s industrial and technological catch-up for your enlightenment: Alice Amsden, Asia's Next Giant; South Korea and Late Industrialization (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989) and Linsu Kim, Imitation to Innovation: The Dynamics of Korea’s Technological Learning (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997).

This technological catch-up formula of reverse engineering followed by creative engineering redesign to achieve technological self-reliance has been historically validated again and again in Taiwan, China, Malaysia, India, Brazil, Israel, and other newly industrializing countries. The reason why we have been left behind is not because of our poor research productivity but because our political and business leaders have been brainwashed by mainstream economists into upholding the theory of comparative advantage, which says that Filipinos should just import and use advanced equipment and technologies instead of trying to produce our own advanced equipment and technologies.

Ed Padlan, therefore, is partially correct when he said that the Philippines should have more engineers running the government, for it’s a historical fact that most of those who engineered the successful catch-up of the newly industrializing countries were engineers who practiced catch-up technology management and threw away the theory of comparative advantage taught in schools of economics. I said I partially agree because what those successful countries really had plenty of and what we badly need right now are technology managers, whether they come from engineering, science, business, and other backgrounds. Technology managers are persons who are knowledgeable and competent in identifying, forecasting, selecting, acquiring, creating, developing, transferring, commercializing, and deploying technologies for the defensible and sustainable competitive advantage of a firm or a nation.

So if you want to be a “literate scientist,” as you defined it, you should study technology management and stop pretending you know anything about Science, Technology, and Innovation Policies and National Development, for you only end up displaying your scientific chauvinism, hubris, and simple-minded naiveté on these matters. And please stop quoting American basic scientists who know next to nothing about S&T and national development in developing countries.


*P-Noy is the self-given monicker of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III

Dr. Roger Posadas, PhD, is one of the eminent physicists of the Philippines. He started his career in the academe as a professor of physics at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City. He served for 10 years as the first dean of UP Diliman’s College of Science and as chancellor of UP Diliman, and is currently a professor at its Technology Management Center.

Click to post a comment to this discussion
(requires registration to view & post)

“Not telling the truth makes our science crisis worse”

Rejoinder of Dr. Flor Lacanilao to Dr. Roger Posadas’s response (July 28, 2011):


The S&T report in PNoy’s SONA has again brought disagreement between us. Na-isip ko isang dahilan kung bakit hindi tayo magka-intindihan [I thought that there’s one reason why we can’t understand each other]. So I will try the personal approach this time: talk about ourselves rather than what we say, meaning our respective credibility. My main concern has always been the future Filipino scientists and educators.

“Dr. Roger Posadas served as first dean (for 10 years) of UP Diliman’s College of Science and as former chancellor of UP Diliman.”

1. We are debating science and technology in a science forum. But you cite books by social scientists; they are published in journals covered in Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), but they have no publications covered in Science Citation Index (SCI). Examples are Linsu Kim and Alice Amsden as cited in your comments above. SCI and SSCI are the major ISI indexes covering high-impact journals.

2. Your focus is on using technology for development regardless of research. I explain how to improve research to develop capability to generate and to use technologies (No shortcut to progress). They indicate a difference between our training and experience. Baka pareho tayong tama—sa social science ka, sa science ako. [Maybe we are both correct, you in social science and I, in science].

3. But I can’t find any research and viewpoint papers where you are sole or first author, published in SSCI or SCI journals. This says a lot about your academic functions and the credibility of your commentaries. As a professor of physics says, “How Can We Have Science Literacy Without Literate Scientists?”  Further, Peter Mayer, director of graduate studies in physics at Princeton says, “You need to know how to do research properly before you can begin to think about commercializing discoveries” (A business blueprint: how to build a better Ph.D. Science 270:133-134, 1995).

I have enough of them—research papers & invited editorial; as sole, first, coauthor, and last author—published in 7 journal titles covered in SCI, including a research paper in Science as sole author. I led the research group that was the first to achieve the spontaneous breeding of milkfish in captivity (“Philippine science as world science: The case of milkfish reproduction”). They back my credibility and my views in giving out reliable information—for those who want to learn.

4. In your 10 years as science dean at UP Diliman, whereas the number of PhDs in the college faculty increased twofold-plus, the percentage of SCI-indexed papers produced per PhD decreased from 12 to 5 (Celebrating the UP Centennial, Table 1). The result is lower academic standard of teaching, graduate training, research, and outreach, not only in UP but also in other universities through graduates produced. They tell a story why we are unable to move forward (see “Problems preventing academic reforms,” and Google “Science in 100 years of UP biology”).

5. During my assignment as chief of SEAFDEC in Iloilo, the number of research and technology papers published in ISI-indexed journals increased sevenfold in 6 years. And made SEAFDEC the only world class Philippine institution in the R&D sector (Philippine science: Time for a fresh start).

“The environment in which decisions are made in a democracy will always be highly politicized, but it is crucial that both sides of any argument pay close attention both to what science knows and how that knowledge has been gained” (Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief of Science, and for 12 years president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, in “Policy-Making Needs Science”)

Para sa akin, in time of crisis—like our crisis of science governance in universities and government—to avoid telling the truth makes it worse. “Being honest does not mean being insulting, or nasty.”


Click to post a comment to this discussion
(requires registration to view & post)

“Natural science isn’t the only authoritative source of knowledge”

Rejoinder of Dr. Roger Posadas (July 29, 2011):

Hi, Flor!

Recall that our debate issue was whether your hypothesis, “Scientific research is a prerequisite to technological development,” is correct or wrong. I argued that there is not a single historical example of a country that can confirm your hypothesis and that on the contrary, country after country in history—Germany, USA, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Israel, Brazil, Malaysia—have invalidated your hypothesis by first accomplishing industrial and technological catch-up and development before pursuing and attaining scientific catch-up in terms of scientific publications. Then I said that if you don’t believe me, you can read the books on South Korea’s industrial and technological development by two internationally recognized scholars on Korea’s
national development, Alice Amsden and Linsu Kim.

You replied, however, by raising issues about my publication record and administrative accomplishments, trumpeting your own publication record and administrative accomplishments, and even questioning the competence of Amsden and Kin because they did not publish in SCI journals.

So, thank you for demonstrating your: (1) fallacious reasoning (argumentum ad hominem and false appeal to authority), (2) unscientific thinking, and (3) scientistic mindset, as I will now explain one by one:

1. My publication record and administrative accomplishments have nothing to do with the issue we are debating. To bring these up in a debate is a fallacy called argumentum ad hominem. In fact, even if your PhD is in the breeding of bangus [milkfish], I never questioned your administrative record or your research outside bangus breeding because these are irrelevant to the debate issue. Besides, the truth of a hypothesis, whether in the natural or social sciences or management, is not determined by the number of ISI publications of the proponent or the opponent.

Neither is the credibility of a person determined by the number of his research accomplishments. Lord Kelvin was the world’s most outstanding and authoritative physicist in the 1890s when he “expertly” predicted in 1895 that “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”

2. I cited the works of two internationally recognized scholars on South Korea’s industrialization as evidence to refute and falsify your research-must-precede-technology-development hypothesis, but you dismissed their works as social science research, implying that natural science publications are more credible evidence of truth than publications in other journals. And so you would rather appeal to the authority of natural scientists like Bruce Alberts to bolster your hypothesis. This is called the fallacy of “False Appeal to Authority,” i.e., citing the opinion of an authority who has no expertise on the issue under discussion. But, in fact, your reference to Bruce Alberts was misplaced because his commentary was an argument for scientific thinking in policy issues related to climate change and global warming (with which I have no quarrel) and not for your “science-must- precede-technology-hypothesis.”

3. Your predilection for appealing to the opinions of foreign natural scientists on our the issue of our debate—an issue of national S&T and development strategy—and dismissing the opinions of technology management experts just because they have not published in SCI journals is a glaring example of scientism—the belief that natural science is the only credible and authoritative source of truth and knowledge in all human spheres. And your belief that only natural scientists with ISI publications are fit to run universities and S&T institutions betrays your bias for scientocracy and scientistic chauvinism. What you forget is that natural scientists with ISI publications are highly specialized scholars who may have acquired deeper and deeper knowledge of “things” within a very narrow specialty. Hence, these research scientists in fact are the least qualified people to manage institutions where they have to deal with people and not “things” like quarks and DNA. So, unless these scientists acquire training and experience in dealing with people of all kinds and in managing social processes, they should not be appointed as heads of institutions.

4. In the scientific method, a scientist poses a hypothesis as an attempt to explain a certain phenomenon and then makes observations and experimentations to test the hypothesis. If an observation confirms the hypothesis, that is one point towards its confirmation but not its proof. But if even a single observation negates or invalidates the hypothesis, then the scientist must discard or revise the hypothesis. In your case, however, your hypothesis of “scientific research is a prerequisite to technological development” cannot be supported by a single country in history, whereas its reverse (technological catch-up and development is a prerequisite for scientific catch-up and development) has been confirmed by the cases of Germany, USA, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Israel, Brazil, India, Finland, and others. Nevertheless, you pigheadedly insist on the truth of your hypothesis despite the verdict of history. So the only conclusion is that you are an unscientific person who is no better than an astrologer or mythologist trying to peddle stories that have been called “unfalsifiable” by Karl Popper.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of your campaign to get our researchers to do research properly and to publish them in ISI journals. But let us not make ISI publications the prerequisite for technological and economic development. We must get rich first before can create a world-class environment for scientific productivity. And to get rich, we must first develop our technological capabilities and our industrial competitiveness. And stop judging the worth or qualifications of people on the basis of their number or lack of ISI publications. Please judge them on the basis of their values and character as well as their competence and capabilities.


Click to post a comment to this discussion
(requires registration to view & post)

Dr. Lacanilao rests his case on this debate

Rejoinder of Dr. Flor Lacanilao (July 30, 2011):

Hindi na ako sasagot [I won’t reply anymore], can’t see any sense to do so.


Click to read responses or post a response



In the beginning in this Forum...

Below are the postings previously being discussed in the Forum. You are most welcome to respond to any of the postings made so far or to post an entirely new topic of your own. Do share with us your thoughts on how honest-to-goodness education and teaching reforms might be achieved in our country.

Tonybau, a medical doctor and former PTA president, paints a bleak scenario of overcrowding, teacher overload and lack of qualified teachers, lack of basic facilities like clean water and libraries, and malnutrition among pupils in his city’s public high school. He then advocates a total overhaul of the educational system that “continues to churn out students, majority of [whom] are products of an environment where teachers are there only to earn their keep.”

Florlaca, a retired university professor and department head with a master’s in zoology and a doctorate in comparative endocrinology, vigorously proposes that improving research performance is essential to real academic reform. He says that publications that meet internationally accepted criteria are the best indicator of research performance and of competence to do other academic work as well. We still have to hear a response to this from academe or from education officials.

Arvin Ortiz, a student-writer, points out that while some professors consider Wikipedia as an unreliable source for students’ research papers and theses, some PhDs in the Philippines have actually cited Wikipedia as a source for the textbooks they have written. What gives?

Penmanila, creative writing institute director and English professor at the University of the Philippines, notes that teachers of English in the Philippines have such a weak command of the English language themselves, and wonders how their English can be improved. He asks: Do seminars and things of that sort really help?

Madgirl109, who describes herself as “just another struggling Filipino worker in Japan,” gives a first-hand view of the problems and opportunities of Filipinos working in Japan. For them to improve their job and income prospects in Japan, she says, they need to become more proficient not only in English but in Nihongo as well.

Meikah, who used to be a university instructor but now works as a web education professional, believes that education and teaching in the country have gotten from bad to worse. She says college students lack comprehension skills because their teachers in grade school and high school had made no effort at all to help them understand or teach them how to understand their lessons.

Maudionisio says that to foist the myth of “one nation, one language,” the Philippine government massively brainwashed elementary pupils in the 1960s to think that the national language was Pilipino, and that the other languages spoken by Filipinos in the other regions were simply dialects. He contends that this brainwashing has not been undone, so some of those pupils—now grown up—still erroneously refer to the various Philippine languages as “dialects.”

Click to read the complete individual postings and to post your response


Copyright © 2010 by Aperture Web Development. All rights reserved.

Page best viewed with:

Mozilla FirefoxGoogle Chrome

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Page last modified: 4 December, 2011, 6:00 p.m.