Davao City allots P34 million for scholarships

Subscribe Now February 17, 2014 at 07:48am

The local government has identified indigenous peoples (IPs) as among the priority sectors for the Scholarship on Tertiary Education Program (STEP) which has an allocated budget of P34 million this year.

The city government established the STEP scholarship in 2008 for the underprivileged but deserving youth of Davao.

This year, new scholarship programs such as law and medicine courses are being offered specifically for IPs (locally called as lumad) who want to take such courses.

IPs are peoples identified as having specific rights to a particular territory based on their history and cultural distinctiveness.

Among the IPs in Davao are the Ata Manobo, Bagobo Tagabawa, Ubo Manobo, Matigsalog, K’lata (Guiangan), Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, Sama and the Kalagans.

“We are about to offer new programs for members of the IP communities who want to take up medicine or law,” Emilio Domingo, educational benefit system technical staff said during Saturday’s iSpeak Forum at the city hall.

“IPs who qualify for medical or law courses can avail of the P40,000 per semester tuition fee allowance (for medicine students) and P15,000 per semester tuition fee allowance (for law students),” said Mr. Domingo.

Lumad scholars for other courses also get P1,500 monthly allowance, Mr. Domingo said.

While the program does not require a particular educational institution where the IPs can enroll in their medical or law courses, he said, the only school that offers medical studies in the city is Davao Medical School Foundation.

However, there are many schools in the city offering the Bachelor of Law course.

The city’s STEP scholarship requires applicants to take a one-hour examination, which consists of 65 items. The passing score is 75% of the total number of items in the exams.

“You have to prepare for grammar and mathematics questions,” he advised students who want to avail of the scholarship program.

Councilor Ma. Belen S. Acosta, chairperson of the committee on education, earlier admitted that not all indigent students can qualify for STEP as it has rigid requirements and examinations.

The STEP examination is very competitive because they only choose the best and the brightest, she said.

STEP has produced 33 notable graduates for school year 2012-2013, with two magna cum laude graduates, and 12 cum laude graduates.

These scholars graduated from 10 different schools through the educational assistance provided by the city’s trust fund worth P19 million.

STEP scholars get free tuition fees, monthly allowances for school uniforms and textbooks.

To qualify, the applicant must belong to the top 10 graduates of public secondary or private schools in Davao City.

The city is also set to offer Technical and Vocational Programs to local students once the program is relaunched in March this year. The city will provide educational assistance worth P15,000 for each scholar and up to 20 scholars will be taken for each six-month program. He said these programs will make poor but deserving Dabawenyos more competitive in the job market not only in the local arena but also internationally.

The demand for graduates of technical and vocational courses is on the rise, Ms. Acosta said.

The cost of the scholarship is paid directly by the city to the educational institution concerned.

Davao residents who are indigent or whose income is below average are qualified to apply for technical and vocational scholarships after March 2014.

Source: bworldonline.com

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