INAUGURAL ADDRESS. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is flanked by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (left) and House Speaker Martin Romualdez shortly before he delivered his first State of the Nation Address at Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday (July 25, 2022). One of the key topics of Marcos was the resumption of face-to-face classes by August. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan) 



MANILA – The government will focus on developing and refining Filipino students’ performance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

During his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City on Monday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  said developing STEM skills further will allow the country to gain a competitive education standing worldwide.

“These skills and knowledge are necessary for our young people to be able to compete in a highly technological and competitive world. The raw talent is there in our young people,” he said.  

Marcos said it is up to the country’s educational system to develop and to refine a "great pool of Filipino talents".

In the Philippines K to 12 curriculum, STEM and digital skills are embedded in the Philippine 21st-century skills framework.

Based on the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the Philippines ranked 54th in the worldwide STEM pipeline, a marked improvement from the 73rd ranking in 2018

Marcos said students should be engaged with online resources and maximize internet connectivity to fully participate in the global digital system

“The internet has now become the global marketplace. Not only for goods and services but also for ideas and even extending to our personal interactions. The language of the internet is, for better or for worse, English,” he added.

While embracing the digital world, Marcos also pushed for the expansion of English learning opportunities.

“Therefore, the question of our medium of instruction must be continuously reexamined to maintain the advantage that we have established as an English-speaking people,” he said.

Marcos noted that Filipinos have more edge when it comes to employment due to their strong command of the English language.

“Therefore, the issue of what is the medium of instruction in our schools must be examined closely,” he said, noting that it could prepare students to find better jobs.

Resumption of F2F classes

Meanwhile, Marcos said it is time to resume the full implementation of physical classes.

The Department of Education (DepEd), headed by Vice President Sara Duterte, is preparing for Academic Year 2022-2023 with mostly physical classes and blended learning for some where face-to-face is not possible.

The President thus urged the public to avail of Covid-19 booster shots as their contribution to the efforts for full recovery from the health crisis.  

“This is one of the main reasons why we directed the Department of Health and Department of the Interior and Local Government to undertake another rollout of booster shots,” he said.

Marcos likewise ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways to ensure that classrooms are in better condition and are enough for the number of students enrolling for the coming school year. 

“Though some complications have arisen in the repair of school buildings in relation to the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, these will be ironed out,” he said.

The Mandanas-Garcia ruling resulted from the 2013 petition by former governors Hermilando Mandanas of Batangas and Enrique Garcia Jr. of Bataan before the Supreme Court on local government shares on internal revenue allotment.

According to the petitioners, local government units shares should include all national taxes.

The Supreme Court affirmed that GLUs are entitled to a “just share” on all national taxes collected and not only from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Marcos bared that the national government and LGUs have already determined their functionalities in terms of providing better education for Filipinos nationwide.

Gaps and practical decisions to improve the quality of education were also discussed.

“There have also been lengthy discussions on the continuation and viability of the K to 12 school system. We are giving this a careful review, and all necessary inputs and points of view are being considered,” he added.

The government and DepEd are set to introduce refresher courses and re-trainings for public school teachers to capacitate their technology skills amid the rapid growth of digital spaces and online opportunities. (PNA)