THE local education sector will need all the help it could get to help enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in the country.
So far, responses from the private sector are a welcome development, as it has expressed support to train and produce more quality Filipino students in STEM.
For instance, Samsung Phils., a subsidiary of the Korean-based global technology giant, is scaling its efforts to support young Filipino innovators through the launch of its globally recognized educational program: “Solve for Tomorrow.”
In partnership with the Department of Education, Solve for Tomorrow is an innovative contest that fosters critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and teamwork to spur breakthrough social ideas addressing pressing community issues.
Since its global launch in 2010 Solve for Tomorrow has provided an opportunity for students worldwide to turn their imaginative ideas into practical solutions. It aims to empower STEM students to share and realize their ideas to address societal challenges, while making an impact in their local communities.
The competition offers a unique learning experience, enabling participants to leverage on their STEM expertise and acquire valuable skills throughout the entire journey. As of 2020 Samsung Phils.’ corporate social responsibility program has benefited more than 2 million people and expanded to over 50 markets, including the Philippines in 2023.
STEM in PHL
Philippines needs a herculean effort to lift STEM education from the doldrums. In the 2022 edition of the Global Innovation Index which measures economic progress and competitiveness, the country slipped eight spots to rank 59th in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scales in reading, math, and science.
In the first participation of the Philippines in the PISA in 2018, Filipino students ranked the lowest in reading comprehension among 79 countries, and second-lowest in both mathematical and scientific literacy.
Minsu Chu, president of Samsung Phils., said the company is committed to giving back to the community through STEM education: “Every young person deserves to unlock his or her full potential, regardless of circumstances. Samsung believes in developing young minds and equipping them with resources and opportunities that nurture their dreams, so they can generate positivity that also inspires fellow [youth].”
How to join
TARGETED toward the youth who are taking on the STEM track from Grades 8 to 12, Solve for Tomorrow aims to enhance students’ technical and 4C skills: cooperation, communication, creativity and critical thinking.
Interested applicants, which should consist of students and a teacher, can submit an application through the official Samsung Phils. web site. Entries are welcome from individuals or teams with a maximum of eight members. Schools may field-in as many numbers as possible.
Applicants are required to submit a written plan with a maximum of 1,000 words about the issue or problem they wish to solve, a poster or diagram of their plan, a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation with no more than 10 slides, or a 5-minute video presentation.
The program will run in three stages from May to December. Qualified entries will go through a preliminary round in June. Shortlisted teams will move to the semifinals that will last until October, where they will be subjected to workshops and mentorship so that teams could build a prototype of their solution.
Only five groups will advance to the final round in December, when the students will present their prototypes to a panel of judges. Three individuals or teams will be announced as winners.
Prizes worth over P1.5 million await the winners, including their respective teachers and schools. Stay tuned for further contest updates to be announced soon.