since 2010, the Department of Science and Technology has continuously strengthening and enhancing the Philippines’ S&T-based innovation ecosystem. We have been increasing our capacity in the critical fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)—primarily through our higher education institutions.
A substantial amount of our research and development outputs and innovations have been produced through our universities and colleges—from both private and state-funded. The same can be said for most of the APEC community, and as such, it is necessarily critical for member economies to look into the state of our HEIs, and explore ways to promote and strengthen collaboration to meet national and regional goals.
This High-level Policy Dialogue will tackle the following three themes: 1) Ensuring Relevance, Utilization and Contribution of Products of S&T in Higher Education to Economic Development in the APEC Region; 2) Technologies and S&T Concerns of the Future: Implications for Future Careers, and 3) Innovations in Higher Education Delivery Modalities and Strategies. It is our hope that our discussions would enable us to identify concerns common to all economies, and help us collectively find solutions in addressing them.
With the global-integration, economies are now clustering together and sharing strengths to uplift regional capability. This further highlights the significant role of higher education in the context of global integration.
In less than two decades, the Asia-Pacific region has been found to possess the largest and fastest growing higher education sector worldwide. Recent studies in 2011 have shown that the countries of East and Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific have about 50 million tertiary students compared to 14 million in 1991.
In China, Singapore, Chinese Hong Kong, Korea and Chinese Taipei—where families are deeply committed to give the best education for their children—world-class higher education institutions are rapidly emerging, with the support of governments that see knowledge and skills as key to providing a better quality of life for their citizens—now and in the future.
In the Philippines, we are strengthening our universities by establishing consortia that serve as a venue for discussion and exchange of ideas and experiences, to come up with innovations in tertiary S&T education programs.
Our science and technology scholarship programs are being re-engineered to respond to the direction and thrusts of our roadmap in S&T development, in producing the critical mass of highly-trained scientists and engineers in the most areas needed. Our other programs to strengthen our tertiary STEM education include: capacity-building for our educators, support for research activities, and university partnerships, among others.
We are taking this opportunity to help bring our universities to the ranks of “world class” institutions that are able to produce globally-competitive scientists, engineers, researchers, and educators.
Ladies and gentlemen, delegates.
In 2011, APEC leaders committed to setting goals for regional student mobility by 2020 and other education goals shared by all 21 APEC economies affirming that: We will endorse the target of 1 million intra-APEC university-level students per year by 2020, as well as support further work that will enhance the mobility of students, researchers, and education providers, and the network of existing bilateral agreements. Today’s high-level policy dialogue will surely contribute to the APEC leaders’ commitment for regional student mobility by 2020.
We are positive that APEC members share a far-reaching desire to empower our higher education institutions through regional collaborations and close the gap in terms of the differing levels of advancements in the existing higher education systems among economies. It is indeed exciting to think about the possible outcomes of this Dialogue in terms of cooperation and agreements. Let us welcome the challenge at hand with great optimism and a sense of harmony for the region.
Again, welcome to this dialogue, and I wish everyone a successful and fruitful discussion.