Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Filipino scholars’ abroad urged to return to RP

I read in the Inquirer that Sen. Edgardo Angara is urging Filipino scholars to return home to the Philippines. The article mentioned that he is concerned that Filipinos do not return home after they have completed their studies abroad. I think he failed to ask himself the million dollar question: "What will Filipino scholars having completed their graduate degrees in engineering, science etc. do in the Philippines?" Sell banana-que?

I know a lot of Filipinos who finished their graduate degrees abroad. They do want to go home. The main problem is that there are no positions available for them at home. They tried applying in universities or research institutions in the Philippines but nobody wants to hire them. Unfortunately, it is not always the best people who gets hired. Imagine you are a dean of a university and you finished your PhD (if you have one) at the University of Lulubalu. One day a guy who just finished a PhD at MIT applied for a teaching position. You will never hire the MIT guy because for certain, in a few months, he will have your job. So poor Filipino scholar who spent 4 years slaving for his PhD at MIT, his only option is to sell banana-que. So, off he goes back to the US.

We don't have enough high caliber and well funded research institutions to lure people back. To lure people back we should follow the example of Singapore. The National University of Singapore lures a lot of great scientists from all over the world because they have infrastructure and funding to get good people.

It's just so wrong to make a press statement about urging scholars to come home because it sounds as if they don't want to. Sen. Angara can fund more scholars to go to Japan as much as he wants but they won't come home to the Philippines after they finish their degrees either if there are no jobs for them.

In the Philippines there are limited positions available for highly trained people. The right press statement should have been "Philippine government establishing international caliber research facilities to lure Filipino scholars home".

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