Monday, April 14, 2008

No Brains to Drain?

In response to the Nashman (currently a PhD student in the UK), who says he doesn't believe there is brain drain for a country of 90 million. He says "No sooner have we left and there is another one better and brighter..."

Pasensya na ha.

Just because there are 90 million bodies, probably over 100 million in two decades, does not necessarily increase the chances of there being better or brighter people. Babies need nourishment and education to stand a fighting chance. To get better and brighter people, you need to invest. Mahirap yatang maging matalino kung kang-kong lang ang kinakain mo araw-araw.

This study by PIDS shows the decrease in government spending on education. At the same time there are more and more kids moving from private schools to public schools because private education is getting more expensive. I should know. I have taught in public and private universities.

And according to former education Secretary Butch Abad:

Among 10-64 year old population, only 41% are HS grad or higher; 65% can read, write, compute and comprehend; 84% can read, write and compute but not comprehend, 89% can only read and write

9.16M (or 16% of population) are functionally illiterate: 98% of unschooled, 35% of elementary drop-outs, 29% of elementary graduates are illiterate youths and adults

1,000 children enter Grade 1: 312 drop-out before Grade 6 (2/5 between G1-3; 3/5 between G4-6)

Of 638 elementary graduates, 439 complete in 6 years; 249 complete in 9.6 years due to repetition

Of 638 elementary graduates, only 7 mastered all minimum competencies for elementary level

Only 23% of Grade 6 pupils are independent readers in English

High School diploma does not mean much: 44% not mastered English, 52% not mastered Math, 74% not mastered Sciences competencies

College diploma does not mean much: only 2-7% of college graduate applicants to ICT jobs are accepted

Even professional license does not mean much: 46% of practicing M.D.s in Visayas did not pass competency-based test - admitting patient, administering correct drugs or oxygen

So, tama ka. Wala nga'ng brain drain.


Brian Brotarlo said...

To the people who can read, write but cannot comprehend... read my lips, comprende?

The Nashman said...

true. nutrition is an important ingredient of brain development.

(kaya galit na galit ako diyan sa mga infant milk formulas!!!!!!!!! biro mo pinipilit ang mga mothers to buy their expensive chalk!}

it's indeed a question of tapping into that 90 million potential. it's really disheartening that a lot of people will never reach their full potential.

nevertheless, in real terms, there should be around 2 million well educated people.

nga lang, there seem to be only 300 of the same ruling class who..hay naku...bwiset talaga...

and to be honest, paminsan, i find it a bit smug that people abroad raise this issue of 'brain drain' in the sense that as if nung umalis sila sa pilipinas at nasa abroad na sila, walang natirang matalino back home...kaya naman noon diba may kumakalat na email sa atin in the diaspora about this pinoy who decided to go home 'to help reverse the brain drain'...very arrogant ang mokong as if siya lang ang matalino :D

and correction, I'm not studying to be a doctor (in the sense that I am not a medic), i'm doing a phd..

incidentally, how is the surf this year? I want to surf in Oz! (kahit poseur lang sa beach basta ang background eh bondi beach)

van said...

"kumakalat na email sa atin in the diaspora about this pinoy who decided to go home 'to help reverse the brain drain"

In fairness, I wouldn't mind the "arrogance" if this guy turns out to be a science expert or an expert of any kind. The right one can make an impact. Too many key people really are shipping out. This government really does not have its priorities straight. Puro kurakot kasi inatupag.

The Nashman said...

I think he was an expert in a field where many filipinos are already experts on...pero, we can give him some leeway, he did after all travel and travel is the best education...airport pa lang big difference na...saan ka nakakita ng airport na may travel tax na, may terminal fee pa?

and mas lalong mahirap actually for scientists to come home specially kung yung field nila involves experimental techniques. ok, fair enough that they should come home and transfer knowledge (DOST has a balik scientist program) but to ask them to stay specially when they are on the peak of their careers pero wala namang lab/equipment sa atin, is asking too much. let them go where they are most productive. kung pipilitin natin silang umupo sa dilapidated building, eh di wala rin sila output, depressed pa sila, and depression leads to greater social problems... :D

I still think that there is no excuse for brain drain in the 21st century, telecommunications is cheap now. The transfer of information is fast....saang lupalop ka man ng mundo, you are just a videoconference away....

spliceanddice said...

I think what I'm getting here is this: there's no brain drain because there's no brain to drain, or at least a majority of our cerebrals are missing which makes draining futile. Correct me if I am getting the wrong signal, but that is the 'signal' I'm getting.

I think that is true partly because of the majority of Butch Abad's facts. But more to that, I think the more horrendous thought is this:

"9.16M (or 16% of population) are functionally illiterate: 98% of unschooled"

Res ipsa loquitur. When you have 16% of the millions of your kind who are "functionally illiterate," now that is truly horrible in monumental proportions. Where's the brain to drain?

Anonymous said...

I think the essence of brain drain is that the best and brightest leave the country for other greener pastures.

If there are only 10 bright people left on the philippines and most of them leave the Philippines, it would still be a brain drain.

So your arguments about how the masses are stupid is moot. Brain drain is all about the brightest in the population, no matter how many there are left. (And I can't imagine bright people nearing extinction in the Philippines despite your very, very dire numbers!)

It would probably make more sense if you came up with statistics about the educated among us and see if they're staying, or planning to stay, leave for other countries, etc. -Trolly from S.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget that a huge proportion of the brightest people in the country are the 30 to 60 yrs old demographic-people who were fed and educated decades ago and don't fall under you hungry and starving scenarios. These people still are or are planning on leaving the country, so I wouldn't say there's no more brain to drain. -T from S

Major Tom said...

My professor in Public Ad believes that brain drain might be social problem for our country, but's worst when our brightest engineers couldn't even buy a car if he works for the government here, on an honest salary.

They'd better be hauling dollars for us all.

Jaydee said...

Those stats show that there is indeed brain drain in our country. However, I agree with Major Tom that if those people can't afford a decent life in the Philippines, they serve us best by hauling garbage in western countries and in effect, haul dollars back to the country.

Gang said...

Thank you for this post. I was googling on the brain-drain theory preparing for a lecture and your piece helped me a lot. (more than just "for my lecture")

I hope you won't mind, I will share this link with my students on Friday.

Salamat ulit.

ambivalent misanthrope said...

"Mas lalong mahirap actually for scientists to come home."

What a coincidence. Share ko lang. Two days ago I bumped into scientist Christopher Monterola of the National Institute of Physics in UP Diliman. Christopher obtained his Ph.D. from Germany where he also lived for two years. He says in Germany he earned fifteen times his salary here in the Philippines.

But he prefers to stay here. He categorically said that. Mas fulfilling daw teaching Filipino students and seeing them excel.

I believe there's a brain drain. no amount of academic theorizing can negate what's evident everywhere: thousands of nursing and medical students all studying and raring to go abroad. But thank God for the few scientists like Dr. Monterola who prefers to stay here.