COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Parliament has given its resounding approval for a measure that will establish a Science High School, giving students interested in science and technology careers a better opportunity to pursue them.
The bill, with a vote of 48-0-1, reflects the collective commitment of the Parliament to provide Bangsamoro students with opportunities to excel in science and technology without needing to seek education outside the region.
The BTA Bill No. 37, or the Bangsamoro Science High School (BSHS) System Act of 2023, was filed by the Government of the Day and aims to create an institution at par with the esteemed Philippine Science High School.
Member of Parliament and Minister of Science and Technology Engr. Aida Silongan said that the school will not only focus on science and technology but will also integrate values education and Arabic studies into its curriculum.
Silongan said that this unique blend is designed to promote a strong foundation in science education while nurturing faith among Bangsamoro learners.
According to the bill, an initial budget of P55 million has been allocated for the implementation, covering land acquisition, dormitory construction, and fencing. The funding for the school building itself will be secured through a Special Development Fund.
While the potential site for the school’s establishment has been identified as Parang, Maguindanao del Norte, its final location will be determined through rigorous evaluations, including feasibility, seismic analysis, resistance to natural disasters, and the maintenance of a peaceful environment.
The target is to welcome the inaugural batch of freshmen enrollees by 2025.
Plans are also underway to replicate the BSHS model in other provinces within the region, with the goal of establishing a science high school in each province.
The BSHS System Act places a strong emphasis on gender equity and inclusivity. The legislation mandates the implementation of policies and programs that create an inclusive learning environment, providing equal opportunities and support for all faculty members and students, regardless of gender.
Qualified learners will be granted comprehensive support, including free tuition fees, accommodation, and educational supplies. Implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the school will outline the benefits for qualified students, determine the school’s location, and establish the number of students to be accommodated from each region, among other aspects.
The Ministry of Science and Technology will be responsible for the administrative control and supervision of the school, ensuring its successful operation and fulfilling its ambitious mission.
A public hearing held in Quezon City in June garnered valuable insights and recommendations from key officials of various Philippine Science High Schools, underscoring their commitment to collaborate and support the new institution once it is operational.
Bangsamoro Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee Chair, MP Suharto Esmael, highlighted the transformative potential of the bill for the region and its youth.
“It is our duty to equip our youth with the skills that will make them competitive and relevant in the global arena and prepare them to become future leaders, innovators, and contributors to the progress not only of our region but also of the entire nation,” said MP Suharto. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)