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Pursuing STEM Careers: Perspectives of Senior High School StudentsI.AbstractThis qualitative research distinguishes students' perspectives who enrolled in primaryeducation in the Philippines. It focuses on different studies concerning the factors affecting highschool students' perception of choosing STEM.STEM majors have continued their demand over the past years. Some of them dropped out andchose an unrelated STEM course. One of the reasons for this is the misconceptions of the STEMstrand. This study is essential to take part in because students' interests in STEM fields aredeclining. STEM fields have been a standard to foster a country's productivity and efficiency.The Philippines is experiencing a shortage of workers in the STEM fields, such as scientists.This research suggests that students are generally more interested in Biology than Mathematicsand other branches of Science. The students' primary reason for enrolling in STEM is that theirpreferred career aligns with the strand. Moreover, students sought to enroll in STEM due to theiraspirations.This study recommends that every school should conduct career guidance seminars for thestudents. Schools can establish various activities that focus on their possible career paths inSTEM-related courses, students' career and motivation, and their career aptitude. Additionally,teachers should undergo retooling and advanced studies. The Deped should also enforceprograms regarding students' career paths. The program will aid in awareness to students of whatcareer path they want to pursue.
II.Background of the StudyAn abundant number of cases had caught society's attention when college students whograduated in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) strands startedchoosing a non-STEM field as their major when they enrolled in college (Chen & Weko, 2009).In this track, students anticipate becoming a pilot, an architect, an astrophysicist, a biologist, achemist, an engineer, a dentist, a nurse, a doctor, and more. Another concerning issue is whenmost students who enrolled in college intending to pursue a STEM field career leave out or picka non-STEM curriculum. According to the Higher Education Research Institute (2010), studentloss rates in collegiate STEM subjects range from 20% to 50%; one example of society iscurrently experiencing a workforce shortage in STEM sectors.STEM graduates are in high demand worldwide since they have played a critical role inincreasing their production. STEM graduates are in short supply in the Philippines, resulting in ashortageofscientists(Anito,Morales&Palisoc,2019).ComparedtotheUNESCOrecommendation of 380 scientists per million, the Philippines has only 189 scientists per million(Anito et al., 2019). The low number of scientists in the country is mainly due to a lack ofSTEM-related degrees. According to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) report, theaverage 5-year completion rate in STEM fields was only 21.10 percent in 2016-2017. Thecompletion rate for sciences was 25.52 percent, followed by mathematics (21.20 percent),information technology (19.56 percent), engineering and technology (18.97 percent), andmedical and associated areas (14.38 percent). EduTECH (2016) supported this scenario whichclaims that the Philippines has a STEM workforce deficit.