Author Topic: Training the future Filipino academics  (Read 10883 times)

florlaca

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Training the future Filipino academics
« on: January 20, 2012, 02:48:56 PM »
Training the future Filipino academics
By Dr. Flor Lacanilao

Below is a brief on UP Diliman’s disaster response program sent to me by Chancellor Caesar Saloma last January 2, 2012. My reply to Chancellor Saloma’s brief immediately follows.

Quote
Dear Dr Lacanilao/Sir:

Best wishes for the New Year!

Let me provide you with brief update on actions taken by UP Diliman in areas dealing with the impact of natural (weather, climate, earthquake, etc) phenomena on the Philippine population.

UPD has been engaged in efforts to improve the accuracy of our understanding of risk management and disaster response (RM-DR) in the country. Researchers from MSI, NIGS and more recently, the College of Engineering are carrying out field research work in different parts of the country and helping local communities get a better handle of natural and man-made disasters.

The week before we went off for Christmas break, UPD signed the MOA for the Nationwide Disaster Risk Exposure and Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) Program with the DOST. The PhP1.6B Program aims to develop a 3-D national elevation and resource information data set that will be extremely useful for risk management and disaster response (RM-DR).

The DREAM research program is headed by Dr Eric Paringit (Geodetic Engineering Department) and will involve researchers both from CoE, CS and other academic units of UPD.

On the local front, UPD through the OVCRD in particular, is developing an RM-DR protocol that is able to coordinate and utilize more effectively and efficiently the various resources (University Health Service, LGUs, Security Services, Academic Units, etc) that are available to the UPD community. The UPD campus is regularly visited by typhoons every year and we need to improve our ability to minimize damage and to resume normal operations immediately.

UPD will also work closely with other UP constituent universities to develop an RM-DR protocol for the UP System.

UPD needs to constantly improve its own scientific and technical capability in RM-DR since the Philippines is prone to natural disasters due to its geographic location and rapidly increasing (and largely poor) population that amplifies the socio-economic impact of such disasters. Any improvement will benefit directly the entire country and its population.

UPD still needs to train more PhD graduates in RM-DR and enlarge our small pool of experts who are already overwhelmed by the magnitude of the recent catastrophes.

Maraming salamat po. Good luck and more power!

Sincerely yours,
Caesar Saloma
--
Caesar Saloma, PhD FSPP SMOSA
Professor, National Institute of Physics
Chancellor
University of the Philippines Diliman
Quezon City 1101, Philippines

My rejoinder to Chancellor Saloma’s response:

Thanks, Caesar, for sharing with me the UPD’s DREAM program. I think this is a good first response to the climate disasters that have been causing much damage to life and property—that  is, to put at task experienced people. The nation cannot ask for more, under the present poor-expertise condition I have described.

For urgent response like this, my quick search shows that Eric Paringit has enough experience to head the group. Another team of properly published scientists from various disciplines, however, should be carefully selected to constitute a second group. This will prepare and implement a long-range program for climate adaptation.

This second team can be formed with UP faculties; I know there is enough of the right people. This group will also design the program for proper training of the next generation of climate adaptation scientists, from present and new grad students. I suggest UP should stop referring to the PhD as the standard for academic qualification. This was the mistake of Roger Posadas in his 10 years as first dean of UPD’s College of Science—with the objective of having in the CS an all-PhD faculty. I trust changes will continue with you in charge.     
 
In your last paragraph you said, “UPD still needs to train more PhD graduates in RM-DR and enlarge our small pool of experts. . .” 

Note that “The PhD degree is not an end in itself but a training for research work. The system of awarding doctorates for unpublished and unpublishable theses is overdue for reform.” (The thesis that won't go away, Nature 331: 497-498, 1988.)  That is to say, the PhD degree is not an achievement that we usually recognize as an academic performance. It is just a promise; valid publications are the performance—the achievement—that entitles one to merit points.   .

The country needs trained scientists, properly published—in SCI and SSCI journals. My emphasis on such journals is to clarify the PhD degree and avoid the gray literature. With your renewed leadership, the government's P1.6 billion program, unlike the former ESEP that to me was a joke, should make a difference. (Problems with higher education 6. Key issues 1)

It is sad to see science and social science organizations in the country continuing to hold meetings or conferences where the papers presented are not published properly. Many forget that such meetings are just an opportunity for preliminary peer review of a research manuscript before submission to a primary journal for the formal, adequate peer review, and proper publication to ensure verification of results.

Instead, they think a conference proceedings paper completes or concludes a research work. And the irony of this is that in all our universities, the output gives the author merit points (just like the PhD degree) for promotion, recognition, or even award.

Such practice—one that often propagates errors and perpetuates mediocrity—will change if UP would start producing the new set of graduate faculty for other universities in the country. And for this, UP Diliman has to develop into our first research university.

I maintain that for UP to start such transformation, develop real academic excellence, and assert its leadership, it should seriously debate the contention that Democratic governance impedes academic reform.  Key to real reform starts with proper training of our future scientists and academics, on whom will depend changes in the country's educational system at all levels.

Best regards,
Flor

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 03:05:47 AM by Joe Carillo »

daffodil1003

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Re: Training the future Filipino academics
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2012, 04:16:11 PM »

Thank you so much for the post.

Jacobe

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Re: Training the future Filipino academics
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 07:28:44 PM »
Hi I am new here and i am from US. Thanks for share great knowledge for all. I like your great info and also would know about Filipino future college. Thanks again. Now i can easily inform another students. 

Freya45

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Re: Training the future Filipino academics
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2013, 11:20:18 AM »
Filipino future college best in respect of others in rules and regulations. Its is good to get info related to this college.