MANILA, February 15, 2011 (AFP) – The Philippines has fewer than half of the science and technology workers it needs as more and more of them are seeking jobs abroad, a science ministry official said Monday.
Under UNESCO standards, the Philippines is supposed to have 386 science and technology workers per one million people but it currently has only 165, said Leticia Catris, head of the ministry’s Science Education Institute.
An institute survey found a growing number of science and technology workers seeking work abroad every year, said Catris.
“The reason for leaving is that they would earn more abroad than in this country. That is really a sad fact but people realize they have to fend for their families,” Catris told AFP.
The survey found that 24,502 science and technology workers went abroad in 2009, a figure that has been increasing steadily since 9,877 departed in 1998.
This figure includes scientists, technicians, engineers, computer and information technology personnel, doctors, nurses and even maths and science teachers, said Catris.
The Philippines has identified information technology, particularly call centres and other outsourced business processes as a key industry in the country’s economic development.
At least 10 percent of the Philippine population, including many scientists, teachers, doctors and nurses, have gone abroad to seek work due to lack of well-paying jobs at home.