THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Negros Occidental may start accepting scholarship applications for academic year 2018-2019 from among the first batch of K to 12 graduates this month.

DOST-Negros Occidental Director Engineer Allan Francis Daraug said on Sunday, June 11, that they are now waiting for the online and printed application forms and other materials from Central Office that will most probably arrive last week of June.

Daraug said the agency will then inform the schools, local government units, and other program-partners, including the congressional office in every district in the province.

“Within the year, we will already identify our scholars for the next school year. They will be the program’s pioneering K to 12 graduate-recipients,” Daraug said, adding that the allocation for the province will depend on the number of students qualified as scholars.

Under the DOST-Science Education Institute (SEI) undergraduate scholarship program, the agency is awarding Bachelor of Science degree scholarships to students who wish to pursue priority fields of study in science, mathematics, and engineering.

Existing science and technology priority courses include Agriculture, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemical Engineering, Forestry, Information Technology, Manufacturing Engineering, Mining Engineering, Mathematics and Science Teaching, among others.

For the next academic year, the DOST has added priority fields of study which the scholars could enroll in, including Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, Agribusiness Management, Applied Statistics, Industrial Design, Industrial Pharmacy, Marine Science, Medical Technology, Meteorology, Nutrition, Psychology, Dental and Veterinary Medicine, among others.

Daraug said these courses are geared toward the government’s goal of creating a pool of scientists, researchers, engineers and technologists.

These are also positioned to increase the country’s capability in terms of producing champions in various science and technology related competitions, he added.

Applicants must be a natural-born Filipino citizen; poor, talented and deserving students who belong to a family whose socio-economic status does not exceed the set values of certain indicators; among the top five percent of the regular high school graduating class; or member of the graduating class of DOST-SEI identified or science high school recognized by the Department of Education.

They should also be residents of the city or municipality for the last four years as attested by the barangay, have good moral character, in good health, and qualifier of the scholarship examination.

Currently, DOST-Negros Occidental has about 250 scholars who are enrolled in various public and private institutions, colleges and universities in the province.

Daraug said that after they evaluate and assess the scholarship applications, it will be forwarded to the Regional and Central Office for refinement.

He added that graduates of the program have higher employment hireability rate, manifesting that the program really produces quality students.

“Our primary aim here is to help deserving students especially those belonging to the marginalized sector transforming them into professionals who can significantly contribute to development of the society,” he added.