Extend K to 12 scholarship deadline, Ched urged

SENATOR Ralph Recto called Saturday on the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to extend the deadline for the application to the scholarship program that would provide teachers affected by the K to 12 program a monthly stipend of at least P20,000 for the duration of their schooling.

In its website, Ched issued a last call for applicants for the "Graduate Education Scholarships for Faculty and Staff Development in the K to 12 Transition Period," with the deadline set on April 1.

"April 1 was the deadline of the application for this scholarship, which is mainly for private college teachers who would otherwise face low or loss of income during the K to 12 transition period," Recto said in a statement.

"The deadline should be extended by a mere 15 days, to April 15, to give more time to teachers who were busy with final tests to collate the required supporting documents," he added.

College enrollment, Recto said, would go down in June as Grade 10 students are retained in schools for two more years of senior high school, prompting government to package a multi-billion-peso bridge financing program for affected personnel.

As the K to 12 Basic Education program enters the senior high school this year, the Department of Education (DepEd) estimated that around 1.21 million Grade 10 students would remain in school for more two years, "which effectively drains the source of college enrollment."

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies had projected that 33,000 college instructors may be potentially idled until 2018. Another group, a coalition of education workers, pegged the number at 86,000 college teachers plus 15,000 non-academic personnel.

A DepEd briefing paper sent to Congress in 2014 had pegged a lower number of 13,634 teachers, or 12 percent of all college teachers, and 11,456 non-teaching staff, or 20 percent of total.

Recto said the scholarships and other K to 12 programs in higher education institutions (HEI) are funded by a P5.27 billion allocation authorized in the 2016 national budget.

Of the said amount, he said P3 billion would be sourced from travel tax collections and state lotto earnings, pooled under the off-budget Higher Education Development Fund, while P2.275 billion was appropriated in the Ched budget for the provision of scholarship to faculty members and HEI administrators.

“Under the program, full scholarships for master’s and doctoral degrees are being offered to faculty and staff during the transition period,” the senator said.

“In addition, scholarship for master’s and doctoral programs in selected foreign schools select are also offered. Grants for thesis and dissertation writing, professional advancement, and post-doctoral fellowships are also available.”

Recto said faculty scholars who qualify under the scholarship would be receiving a package consisting of tuition and fees; monthly stipend; book allowance; transportation allowance; thesis and dissertation allowance; and group insurance.

According to the guidelines, he said the stipend for those who qualify for scholarships for the master’s degree is P20,000 monthly, while successful applicants for the doctoral program will receive P28,000 per month.

Recto said there would also be a thesis or dissertation allowance for master’s and doctoral programs, amounting to P50,000 and P100,000, respectively. For the teachers staying outside their province, a transportation allowance of P10,000 will be given annually.

“The scholarship has two primary goals according to its guidelines issued by Ched on January 12 of this year: mitigate impact on labor of the K to 12 program and to upgrade qualifications of faculty,” he said. “If these are the objectives, then we should accommodate as many applicants as we can.” (Sunnex)

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