“Schools seem to focus more on teaching students how to be good employees instead of teaching students how to actually make a difference or an impact through tech,” Mikko explains.
Barely the afternoon, BatangTech had already begun teaching the sheltered kids of Virlanie Foundation in Makati. Circuit boards were given to the young boys and they proceeded to insert it unto their computers to continue creating their own versions of Pacman.
As Erik Lacson had mentioned during the interview, there is an existing “technology gap” in the Philippines. “Technology gap” is simply defined in a dictionary as the gap between new technology and a country that has yet to acquire that technology. Regions around the world therefore vary in their acquisition of that technology, resulting to the what experts call a “digital divide” resulting to a highly competitive market and industry towards globalization.
The Philippines is a developing country, but our technology has kept up with most of the world. Our engineers are highly acclaimed and internationally recognized. (READ MORE: Best Philippine Engineering Stories of 2016, Gingeersnow) But the technology gap Erik is referring to is not the country’s acquisition of technology or lack thereof on a global comparison, but the present local gap between schools, universities, and institutions.
Mikko Dimapasoc is a 2nd year, Information Systems student at the University of Santo Tomas. He has always been someone who sees engineering as a means of technical creativity that will allow him to build from scratch, and use it as an opportunity to create a tool for impact. His experience with education involving the tech industry is coming from a place that despite being in the industry himself, finds the lack of tools and resources limiting to even those in the field.
“Schools seem to focus more on teaching students how to be good employees instead of teaching students how to actually make a difference or an impact through tech,” Mikko explains.
“The don’t teach you stuff like, you should try and test those ideas you have, or maybe build those things in your head that you had always dreamed of,” he adds. “When it comes to skills, I think may palag tayo compared sa iba, kulang talaga sa tools and resources, and I guess yung mindset (to create) na rin. (I think we are ahead compared to the rest. We juest really lack the tools and resources, and I guess the mindset as well.)”
An article published by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) in 2016 states that the country has been facing local and global challenges requiring science and technology, including regional integration, environmental degradation and climate change, and poverty.
“We are not investing sufficient resources in science and technology (S&T) human resource development, research and development (R&D), and physical infrastructure. Today, we lack even the minimum number of scientists and technologists needed for innovation-driven development. As a result, we suffer from low industrial and agricultural productivity, overall inefficiency, and a meager output of knowledge products, such as scientific publications, patents, and innovations,” the article writes.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Bastian, software engineer and founder of wanderast.com, specifies the problem and needs more. Like Mikko, Kenneth was driven by passion and creativity to build and explore a broad profession with the use of all that he has learned and all that he has yet to learn.

He identifies the lack of distribution of resources to the poverty line. “Public education and technology are hard to provide, especially where majority of the people are living beyond the daily means,” he says. “One requirement for the education tech department to flourish is the growth of household income so that families can buy computers on their household. This sparks curiosity in children about the capabilities of technology.”
Kenneth stresses the idea of education in technology as a means for students to dream, innovate, and create. Much more than its technical aspects or its high-strung belief, learning about technology should come from the child’s initiative and through early introduction instead of forced teaching.
“We must provide our talents the opportunity a chance to adapt and learn. Of course, not everyone will be successful software engineers, many will hate the job but those who love it must be mentored by teachers or those in the industry. We must remember that not every student is interested, but we must grow those who are interested. Forcing to learn is futile and leads to demotivation on their careers,” Kenneth explains. “I believe that dreams supersede education when it comes to learning.”
Like the likes of BatangTech, there are many who have already come to become part of the solution to bring the introduction to basic technology and programming to children who may not have the means to access them. Some government initiatives have also taken place, such as the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST), and a report last September on Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s call to include software coding in early education.
However, Mikko echoes Kenneth’s sentiments on the idea that technology and programming should not be forced education on students, but simply as a way of introduction. As Kenneth had emphasized, it’s important for children to nourish their creativity and it’s important for parents and educators to help students build on those dreams and passions.
“The education system levels must be reorganized to help students to focus on their deep strengths rather than wide but average skill sets, using clubs and a selection of interesting subjects. It is important to understand that we must nourish their strong qualities and flourish their creativity rather than giving them lectures on a wide variety of skills.”
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