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Throughout the years, the Middle East has been the consistent importer of science and technology overseas Filipino workers, a study of the Science Education Institute showed. 

At the Launching of Recent Publications on Migration of S&T workers and Science and Mathematics Frameworks, SEI Director Dr. Filma G. Brawner revealed that in SEI’s research publication “International Migration of Science and Technology Manpower-OFWs” it was found that on the average 9,066 S&T OFWs are employed in Saudi Arabia. 

“In recent years (2006-2009), the number of Filipino S&T workers who migrated temporarily to Saudi Arabia is continuously increasing from around 9 thousand to more than 16 thousand, the highest volume in 12 years,” she said. 

Brawner said majority of S&T OFWs who go to Saudi Arabia are nursing and midwifery professionals, followed by engineering and related professionals, health professionals, and the rest are computing, life science, mathematicians, statisticians, physicists, chemists and related professionals. 

Coming second as top destination for S&T OFWs is the United Arab Emirates, another country in the Middle East. Most of the S&T OFWs that go to UAE are engineers at 45% with nurses placing second at 42%. Health and computing professionals comprise the remaining S&T OFW populace in UAE. 

“Pronounced increase is seen in 2008 with almost two thousand Filipino engineers leaving the country to work in UAE,” Brawner added. 

The third top country destination for S&T OFWs is the United States of America who lure a big number of nurses from the Philippines. The study showed that computing professionals was the initial occupation that is lured to go to the US, up until 2001 when nurses and midwives came rushing to the US. 

Fourth top country destination for S&T OFWs is Singapore where influx of nurses, midwives, engineers and related professionals peaked in 2009. The research showed that there was a decrease in the yearly flow of S&T professionals going to Singapore from 2001 to 2005 but surged up again in 2006 until it peaked in 2009. 

The United Kingdom is the fifth top country destination for S&T OFWs with nurses, midwives and other health professionals flocking into the European country. The flow of S&T OFWs to the UK peaked in 2001 and decreased until 2007. 

Other top country destinations for S&T OFWs include Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Ireland and Bahrain. 

Brawner said the outflow of S&T OFWs deals effect on the research and development as the country grapples to reach the needed critical mass of scientists and engineers as prescribed by the United Nations. 

“The numbers we presented today contains a bittersweet truth about the S&T OFW landscape. Our science professionals are highly marketable and are sought after by developed countries. However, we cannot give them enough reason to stay in the country and help us shore up the research and development agenda of the Philippines,” she said. 

Brawner also unveiled in Wednesday four publications of SEI on the frameworks that can be used to improve the science and mathematics education in the country. 

The titles include: Science framework for Philippine basic education; Framework for Philippine science teacher education; Mathematics framework for Philippine basic education; and the Framework for Philippine mathematics teacher education. 

Brawner said the four titles is submitted to the Department of Education as SEI’s contribution in the development of the basic education curriculum with the government’s thrust of implementing the K+12 curriculum. 

“We are optimistic that the frameworks we have crafted with our partners will greatly help DepEd in setting new directions for the Philippine basic education,” she said. (30)