VIRAC, Catanduanes – The six provinces of the Bicol region take pride in having 529 of their students among the scholars of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) after they qualified for its Science Education Institute’s (SEI) scholarship program.
DOST-5 scholarship coordinator Ruby Asuncion said some of the documentary requirements this year “were their grades from Grades 9 to 12, their schools’ historical record, and out the 5,636 students who applied, about 10% of them made the cut.”
Asuncion shared that the DOST scholarship program is based on the Merit Scholarship Program and Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994.
She explained that the Science and Technology Scholarship Act provides scholarship slots to poor but deserving students whose family’s annual gross incomes do not exceed the poverty threshold limit, while the Merit Scholarship Program accepts students with high aptitude in science and mathematics and are inclined to pursue careers in science and technology.
Asuncion said the scholars will enjoy financial benefits including P40,000 tuition subsidy (for those who will enroll in accredited private colleges and universities), a monthly P7,000 stipend; a P10,000 book allowance; P10,000 thesis allowance and others. Those who enrol in state universities and colleges will enjoy free tuition privileges under the Free Tuition Act.
Under the program, the scholars are expected to enroll in duly accredited and recognized institution by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), and state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Asuncion said the scholars are also expected to enrol in courses aligned with DOST like Engineering, Chemistry, Information Technology (IT), Communication Science, Pharmacy, Food Technology, Agriculture, Science and Mathematics Teaching, and Meteorology among others.
She added that after they graduate, the scholars are expected to render return service equivalent to the number of years they availed of their DOST scholarships.
“The service obligation only DOST asks for the scholars after graduation is to serve the country. We want also to clarify that DOST does not get any share of the salaries of its former scholars who work in government or private establishments while serving their return service agreement,” she added.
The distribution of the new Bicolano DOST scholars follows: Albay, 177; Camarines Norte, 78; Camarines Sur,158; Catanduanes, 24; Masbate,37; and Sorsogon, 55.
Asuncion stressed that the 529 new Bicolano scholars will each receive a Notice of Award which includes the details of their scholarship orientation and scholarship agreement signing.