Good news to students who aspire to become scholars of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The DOST, through its Science Education Institute (SEI), has announced that there will be additional slots for its scholarships for undergraduate and graduate programs as a result of reformed guidelines and additional funding.
“From 4,000 grants, the DOST-SEI has dramatically increased the number of undergraduate slots to 9,000,” DOST-SEI Director Josette Biyo announced during the National Science and Technology Week. This is the biggest batch since the program started in 1958.
“For the master’s degree, we increased it from 700 to 1,400 [slots], while for the PhD level, we geared it from 250 slots to 700,” Biyo added.
Biyo hopes to increase the number of scholars supported in all DOST-SEI scholarship programs from 20,618 in 2016 to a target number of 33,256 scholars for 2019.
“This means more S&T [science and technology] career workers will help contribute to the country’s socioeconomic development,” said Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña at the same briefing.
For the undergraduate degree, three scholarship programs are available. The Republic Act (RA) 2067 is awarded to students with “high aptitude in science and mathematics.” They are selected through an examination set on October 21 for the 2019 program.
The RA 7687 S&T Scholarship is awarded to poor yet deserving students, whose families have low socioeconomic status. In its reformed guidelines, the DOST-SEI will provide scholarship to students with families who earn below P300,000.
“This is based on the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority,” Biyo said. The exam is set on the same day as that for RA 2067.
RA 10612, the Junior Level Science Scholarship Program, targets college students taking science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. The exam is on October 20.
These undergraduate scholarship programs also offer increased financial support.
While the students who will study in state colleges will have free tuition, those under the RA 2067 will have a P40,000 tuition subsidy.
A P7,000 monthly allowance will be given regardless of the student’s STEM course. The scholar will also receive an annual P10,000 book allowance, annual one round-trip economy-class fare, uniform allowance worth P1,000, and a graduation allowance of P1,000. A premium group insurance is also offered.
The deadlines of application for these scholarships are on August 31 for the undergraduate level, and on September 14 for the junior level. Application forms are free.
Graduate level scholarships
In filling in the pool of high-level S&T human resources, the DOST-SEI also offers scholarships to the graduate level in four programs.
These are the Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (ASTHRDP), Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT), Capacity Building Program in Science and Mathematics Education (SciEd), and the Science and Technology Regional Alliance of Universities for National Development (Strand).
ASTHRDP scholarship is offerred to master’s and doctoral degree students in select universities in order to develop a continuing supply of scientists and technologists. The ERDT program it aims to provide support for engineering researchers in select institutions.
The SciEd program gives support to graduate students in select universities to help initiate science teaching and education in the country, while the Strand program offers S&T scholarships in regional institutions.
The graduate students will be supported through tuition in full; an increased P25,000 monthly living allowance for master’s degree students and P33,000 for doctoral degree; a P10,000 yearly book allowance; transportation allowance for a one round-trip economy class; thesis or dissertation allowance; and student-research support fund, which includes attendance in conferences and research publications.
Foreign scholarships are also given to students who pass screening.
Looking at the future
The scholarship programs have already reached the farthest areas of the country with 97-percent coverage out of 1,655 municipalities all over the country.
“Only 46 municipalities don’t have even one DOST scholar,” Biyo added.
DOST-SEI scholarship programs have been a success, providing the country quality graduates.
Biyo said that they have a low dropout rate with “96 percent of scholars graduating on time.”
However, Biyo said there is still a need to do more. “We are already at the 270 [S&T personnel and scientists] per million record and we need 110 more,” Biyo said. “We’d like to achieve the recommended number by the year 2021.”
To meet the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-recommended number of S&T personnel of 380 researchers and scientists per million, the Department of Budget and Management and Congress were convinced by the DOST-SEI that one of the ways to socioeconomically develop the country is to encourage the Filipino youth to pursue S&T-related courses through financial support.