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Senator wants cybersecurity development in basic education | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Philstar.com

December 29, 2022 | 2:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — To boost the country’s defense against cybercrimes, a senator on Thursday said that the development of homegrown cybersecurity talent should start in basic education with the promotion of STEM enrollment. 

The Department of Information and Communications Technology is eyeing short-course training programs for cybersecurity experts and software engineers. According to DICT Secretary John Ivan Uy, the Philippines has only around 200 certified cybersecurity experts compared to Singapore’s 3,000.

In a statement sent to reporters, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, highlighted the importance of filling the country’s shortage of cybersecurity experts, pointing to what he said was the Philippines’ vulnerability to cybercrimes.

“Even in our basic education system, where we could potentially cultivate the talent going into cybersecurity, it’s virtually non-existent,” said Gatchalian, who suggested that skills related to cybersecurity should be taught at the earliest possible opportunity.

Earlier this year, cybersecurity company Kaspersky Security Network reported that for 2021, more than 50 million web threat attempts were foiled in the Philippines, making the country the fourth most targeted by cybercriminals. The same report said that cyber threats detected in the Philippines rose sharply by 433% between 2017 to 2021.

In 2021, a separate study by digital communications technology conglomerate Cisco also found that some 57% of small and medium-sized businesses in the country encountered a cyberattack, 73% of which lost customer information. Among these businesses, 28% reported that the cost to their business amounted to US$ 500,000, while a tenth of those affected claimed it cost them P1 million or more. 

Gatchalian said this adds to the pressing need to increase enrollment in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand of senior high school, where potential cybersecurity talents can be developed.

Of late, the senator said, there were only 612,857 senior high school students enrolled under the STEM strand, which is equivalent to only 16% of senior high school enrollment.

“When it comes to coding, for example, I think it should be introduced as early as junior high school level so that students will be exposed and by the time they reach senior high school, they can actually do more complex tasks related to information technology. When they move to college, they can already specialize in various fields,” Gatchalian added.

The senator again pushed his Senate Bill No. 476 or the Equitable Access to Math and Science Education Act, which seeks to build a math and science high school in the country’s provinces.

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