AGGRESSIVE promotion of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholarship programs and the sheer number of students taking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) strand under the K-12 program have contributed to the rise of the number of students availing themselves of qualifying exams for undergraduate scholarship.
Science Education Institute (SEI) director Dr. Josetta Talamera Biyo admitted that while they do not have any direct study, the establishment of science classes and schools focused on science and education (S&T) have complemented their aggressive campaign for the promotion of S&T scholarship courses.
In 2017 alone, some 46,000 students took the qualifying exams for S&T undergraduate scholarships. This later jumped to 80,000 takers in 2018. For 2019, some 130,000 students took the qualifying exams. In Central Luzon alone, some 11,000 students took the exams in various testing centers.
Under the 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.
"We are looking at increasing more slots for our scholars in the coming years to address the need to accommodate more students," Biyo said.
The SEI said it aims to accommodate some 14,000 news scholars for 2020. In 2018, the DOST supported some 28, 433 scholars. For 2019, scholars for undergraduate, masters and doctorate programs were at 33,022.
The SEI also said that in 2011, the scholarship programs of the DOST had served some 72 percent of municipalities in the country. This rose to 98 percent for 2019, which is a 37 percent increase since 2011.
Biyo added that the SEI scholarship programs had also supported the education of some 133 scholars outside the country.
Biyo also said that the goal of the scholarship program is to enable graduates to help develop improve the state of S&T by working in the country through various career incentive programs.
After graduation, the scholar-graduates are required to render full-time service along with their areas of expertise in the country for a minimum period corresponding to the length of time they enjoyed the scholarship.
Biyo said S&T graduates and those with master's and doctorate programs can help revitalize universities and research institutions in the region.
The DOST offers some P54,000 a month for graduates with masters degrees employed though its programs while P84,000 per month is given to doctorate degree holders.