Vol 145 (4): v-vi, December 2016





The Cost of a PhD Degree

The Philippines with its population of more than 101 million in 2015 is the second and the twelfth  most populous country in the ASEAN and the world, respectively (Philippine Statistics Authority 2016; World Bank 2016). Fifty percent of Filipinos are 23.2 years of age or younger - an estimated median age that is six years lower than that of Indonesia and Vietnam (World By Map 2016).

In AY 2014-2015, the Philippine higher education system consisted of 1,935 higher education institutions (HEI’s) accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with more than 88% of them privately owned. The country produces an average of 1330 new lawyers and 1702 new accountants each year from 2000 to 2015. The average passing rate in the Philippine bar and certified public accountant board examinations is 22.3% and 31.4%, respectively.  In the last three years ending 2016, an average of 2,875 new medical doctors are also licensed annually and the passing rate in the physician board examination is 81%.  The numbers indicate that several thousands of business, law, and medical students are graduated in a given academic year.

The same education system is able to produce barely a hundred new PhD graduates a year in the basic, applied and social sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (54%) and the University of the Philippines Diliman (30%) accounting for more than 80% of the minuscule number (Saloma 2016). The low national PhD production rate could be traced to a number of factors. . . . . . read more