Press Release
November 18, 2009


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today urged CHED, DOST and the country's universities and higher learning institutions to augment efforts in initiating and maintaining educational exchange ties with Asian technological giants like Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea, especially in the area of science, technology and engineering.

"These countries are very strong in S&T, and have used their technological capacity to build their economies. They are also among the most advanced centers of education in the region. Our students can gain highly-specialized knowledge from their universities, which will be valuable in strengthening our own S&T capacity," said Angara, former President of the University of the Philippines and current chairman of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

In the 1970s, government implemented the Balik Scientist Program to allow foreign-based Filipino experts to return and share their expertise in DOST priority projects. Angara said, however, that "except for some cases, it was generally a failure. It did not succeed in bringing back our top Filipino scientists to share their knowledge and competencies in improving the country's S&T capacity, mainly due to the lack of government support."

He added, "we may succeed in creating a pool of experts in the country if we give Filipino scientists the opportunity to study in neighboring countries like Taiwan, Korea and Japan. First, these countries are geographically closer. Second, these are societies don't readily absorb Filipino scholars as in Western societies like the US and Europe. They don't very easily to give out citizenships so we are better assured of our scholars' return upon completion of their studies."

Angara added that while Taiwan, Japan and Korea have the facilities and expertise for advanced training, they are short in manpower whereas in the Philippines, we have more aspiring experts than we can train.

"Given the limited absorptive capacity of our universities in handling graduate programs and the dearth of experts in the emerging fields of S&T, we need to collaborate with technologically-advanced countries to generate new ideas and complement available local scholarships," he said.

Recently upon Angara's representation, the Korean government through Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan expressed support for a government-to-government scholarship program between Korea and the Philippines which will enable Filipino engineers and scientists to pursue advanced studies in Korea, with special focus on renewable energy (RE) technologies.

Angara is currently negotiating with Taiwanese officials to include a provision increasing exchange scholarship between the two governments. In a Memorandum of Agreement with the Taiwan Minister for Science, Angara said the Philippines will be sending 75 Masters and 25 PhD IT and engineering students and professionals to various Taiwanese universities.

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