Research and development

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

I have come to understand more fully that research and development is more important than you think. If it is one thing that this pandemic continues to teach us, it is that innovation and new knowledge are absolutely necessary in adapting to a ‘new normal’. But before any of us begins to engage in such innovative activities, one must first look into a process that will fully address the applications properly.

Research and development is a key component in both discovery and breakthrough. A crisis shows us the discourse needed in order to successfully implement a plan, and a plan is usually backed up by basic research. We have undergone crisis in many different sectors and particularly, the health sector is one that ought to be highlighted as it generally affects the state of the other sectors in society. Prior to COVID-19, poor health and hygiene have shown us that children stop going to school due to rotten teeth and limited or no access to basic commodities such as clean water, which also greatly affects the participation of the learner in the traditional school system, among other things.

This is why it has been such an eye opener for us to accept and direct our efforts to research and development as it is essential and important in creating innovations that affect the over-all health of the entire population, especially considering it may save lives. Having said this, it was therefore a real joy to hear former defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro pay high regard to research and development, citing this as a top agenda for a new Philippines under his platform.

One cannot simply just speak about R&D without pointing out the importance of investment and creating a culture of innovation, both in the private and public sectors. Directly and indirectly, R&D supports economic growth, being a top driver of good quality and well paid employment opportunities that generate revenue for the nation as a whole. With education being an advocacy close to my heart, I know I am not alone in believing that a better Philippines comes from an education or even a re-education of ideas that can be better applied in today’s world.

It is also important to note that research and development is key in enabling significant progress for both learners and educators through investments in curriculum development and relevant methods of instruction. Learning is life-long, we always say, and it was certainly refreshing to hear Secretary Teodoro advocating teacher education in order for us to develop our practice. There is a need to expand our existing body of knowledge, including pedagogy, so that in turn, young people will want to take part in applying skills where sectors desperately need them.

Education is facing many challenges in our current time and in order for us to cope with such challenges, R&D in this field is a must. There is a need to evolve the existing curricula, our learning materials, our techniques as well as our teaching methodologies. Even the way we assess our system needs tweaking and all this can only be done through proper research – research THROUGH development that leads to innovation. We are living in a new normal and therefore, new applications and approaches must also be sought in order to determine as well as create vibrant opportunities that are required for the participation of the next generation.

Research and development helps us understand people. It helps us give the power back to the people in order to appreciate their traditions while creating new but sustainable means necessary to uplift the economy. As Teodoro explained, the Balik-Scientist program of the DOST, for example, requires both education AND investment in research and development in order to block the threats in cyber security and to prevent us from experiencing the same losses such as what we have experienced in this pandemic.

To me, the key word is really INVESTMENT. It is that portion we must be willing to give in order to create good quality human resources for well paid jobs that will boost the economy and provide Filipinos with a more comfortable life. As an educator who believes that teacher training is a driving force crucial in producing good learners, I will most certainly elect a leader that will make the needful investment in R&D.


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