DOST-SEI scholarships help Filipino families give their kids good education

Monday, November 18, 2019 04:26 AM    Views : 28by:Lyn Resurreccion

“I’m very happy that my son qualified in the [Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI)] scholarship program. It helped him have college education because I have no money to send him to school. I am just a farmworker in corn farms, and my husband has died,” Gina Diwangan told the BusinessMirror in the local dialect.

Diwangan’s only son, Jession, graduated cum laude in BS Electrical Engineering from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City. He is currently employed at a company in Cavite.

For her part, Margie Maribao, a mother of six, is very thankful because besides giving her daughter, Sharmarie Love, the chance to study in college through the DOST-SEI scholarship, her daughter is already helping her family financially.

“She has been giving me part of her school allowance,” Margie, in tears, told the BusinessMirror in Filipino.

With six children and a sick husband, Margie said that she could not afford to send her children to college with her meager income of P1,000 a month as a Barangay health worker and P3,000 monthly as a barangay janitor.

A DOST-SEI scholar receives a stipend of P7,000 a month, plus tuition and other school fees, book and transportation allowances, and other privileges.

“I am very proud of my daughter because she is trying her best to improve her life so she would not end up like me,” she said.

Sharmarie will graduate with BS in Secondary Education Major in General Science in 2020.

The children of Diwangan and Maribao were among the DOST-SEI scholars and their parents from Region 10 who participated in the “In Touch with Excellence cum Scholars’ Exit Conference” at a hotel in Valencia City in Bukidnon on November 11.

In school year 2018-2019, 566 DOST-SEI scholars from Region 10 graduated in science and technology courses.

The scholars and their parents received the “Academic Excellence in Science and Technology Award” from Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette T. Biyo.

Of the scholars, 31 graduated with Latin honors—four with magna cum laude and 27 with cum laude honors.

DOST Region 10 also announced that 41 DOST-SEI scholars at Central Mindanao University and Bukidnon State University will graduate in 2020.

They are beneficiaries of the DOST-SEI undergraduate science and  technology scholarships under Republic Act 7687, or Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994, and RA 10612, or Junior Level Science Scholarship.

The other scholarship provided by DOST-SEI is the Merit Scholarship program. Besides scholarships for undergraduates, they also provide scholarships to graduate levels.

14,000 target scholars for 2020

In her presentation during the conference, Biyo said they are targeting a total of 14,000 undergraduate scholarships for 2020. However, this “will depend on the available budget.”

This target is a big leap from the 3,500 scholars in 2015; 8,000 in 2018; and 10,000 in 2019.

She explained that the increase in target is also based on the high scores of the examinees. 

Biyo told Manila-based reporters in an interview that the increase in interest among the youth to have scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses is due to several factors—especially the inclusion of the STEM tract in senior high school in the K to 12 curriculum.

“We would like to believe that the two additional years [of senior high school in the K to 12 curriculum] was a big help for the children to understand the STEM tract,” she said.

She added that the scores of the examinees increased because of the STEM tract, which made the students familiar with STEM subjects, although she has no exact data on hand.

She said that from 72 percent of municipalities with DOST-SEI scholars in 2011, this increased to 98 percent in 2019, or an increase of 36 percent.

They also supported 133 scholars for their foreign scholarships.

In the DOST-SEI Career Incentive Program, it has deployed 127 researchers in 33 research and development institutions nationwide.

At the same time, under the DOST Graduate Scholars Career Incentive program, those who graduate in master in science receive more than P54,000 in salary, while those with PhD receive more than P84,000.

‘What do you want to be 20 years from now?’

For his part, de la Peña did not give a speech, instead he asked the scholars some questions to determine what made them take the scholarship, their immediate and future plans and how they measure success.

He explained that he wanted the ideas to come from the students themselves and not just give them a lecture.

De la Peña asked following questions:

“What do you plan to do now?” Answers: Pursue their respective undergraduate, masteral and PhD courses.

“What do you want to be 20 years from now?” Answers: To be the regional director of DOST-SEI; to be at the Professor 6 level at CMU; to be the head of a research unit in the national and international levels; and to have his own company and give employment to Filipinos.

“What is your wish for the Philippines and for your province?” Answers: Better and progressive Philippines; every child could go to school; alleviate the condition of families and address poverty.

“How do you measure success?” Answers: By having achievements and the good feeling of having support from people

“What do you want the Philippines to achieve in S&T?” Answers: Have solutions in agriculture problems; have agricultural machineries and infrastructure; good transportation system

“What was your biggest challenge in college?” Answer: The practice teaching where we applied theories and prove our competency to make the students love the subject.

“What inspired you to take STEM scholarship?” Answers: It could be applied in many things; parents’ decision

“What is the best part of the DOST scholarship?” Answer: Gain support for financial needs, training, and recognition

“Will you pursue higher studies?” Answer: Yes, to suit needs for my future students and gain competencies.

“How can you help your country?” Answer: By doing the right thing.


S & T Trivia

" The first Filipina engineer to become NASA Space Mission manager was Angelita Albano Castro Kelly, who studied Mathematics/Physics at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and finished Summa cum Laude. She traces her roots to Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. "

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