MANILA, Oct 26 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand R. Marcos has ordered the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to offer scholarships to students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) track program.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (MNS photo)

The directive was made during the Cabinet meeting held at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday morning, Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer in charge of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), said in a press statement.

“President Ferdinand R. Marcos wants the government to offer a scholarship program for STEM courses to address the lack of talent for information and communication technology businesses,” Garafil said. “During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Marcos said a scholarship program should be set up to encourage more students to pursue STEM courses.”

She said Marcos has directed DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy to coordinate with industry players to determine their specific needs and address jobs mismatch.

This was after Uy noted a shortfall in students taking up STEM courses.

Uy also cited the ICT industry’s observations that many IT graduates do not have the right tools and training required by the ICT industry.

The President, Garafil said, emphasized the importance of making “necessary adjustments.”

“Marcos has since expressed commitment to fixing the gap in research and development in STEM, saying the Philippines has ‘a lot to catch up’ in the STEM fields,” she said. “Experts said the Philippines needs to invest in addressing these issues to have a strong STEM community to make the country competitive. They say investing in STEM can boost the country economically, politically, and educationally.”

On Monday, the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) urged interested Grade 12 students who wish to pursue careers in science and technology to apply for the 2023 Undergraduate Scholarship Program.

The application is open to STEM students, as well as to non-STEM students who belong to the top 5 percent of their graduating class.

In his first State of the Nation Address delivered on July 25, Marcos said his administration would focus on developing and refining Filipino students’ STEM performance to enable the country to gain a competitive education standing worldwide. (MNS)